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No Bias Here, Fortunately:
Agency France-Presse has an article about the McCain campaign's attacks against the New York Times for what it claims is pro-Obama bias. I found the last two sentences kind of amusing:
  The New York Times is regarded by some observers in America as a paragon of journalistic standards which keeps its news reporting and opinion comment strictly separate.
  But it is reviled by conservatives who rail against the perceived liberal bias of the mainstream media.
  UPDATE: Based on the comment thread, this post is a bit too subtle for some of our readers. Just to take readers through it, the post pokes fun at the AFP, not the New York Times. Whether the NYT is biased or not is irrelevant . That's right, this is actually not a post about the New York Times! The joke here is that AFP's coverage is itself biased, quite apart from whether the Times is biased.
Federal Dog:
Even if you are sympathetic to the NYT, does anyone actually believe that it keeps its news reporting and editorial comments strictly separate?
9.22.2008 6:30pm
Matt_T:
I'm not credulous enough to believe that about any publication. I don't believe that the editorial page's Dowd- or Krugman-esque drivel leaks into the "hard" news, but to ignore the slant present takes concentration.
9.22.2008 6:35pm
Oren:
Yeah, I'm with FD. The NYT is a paragon of journalistic integrity and, concurrently, has a general liberal slant.

I cannot imagine a credible story being denied spaces for ideological reasons, (e.g their recent in-depth coverage of the LIRR disability fiasco was little more than an assault on the traditional ill-gotten gains of the local unions).
9.22.2008 6:36pm
Asher (mail):
Does this really have to turn into another "The Media Hates Republicans" blog? It's true. But surely what's more important is that McCain and Palin are huge doofuses. Yesterday McCain said that no company receiving bailout money should be allowed to pay their executives more than the highest-paid official of the federal government. That would be the President, at 400K. Now isn't the time for idiotic populist panders. I also enjoyed this from the CNBC interview:

Sen. McCAIN: So I would not at all support anything that is perceived as a tax increase.

HARWOOD: Would you concede then that you could not achieve your goal of balancing the budget in your first term with this huge bailout?

Sen. McCAIN: Not at all. I believe we can still balance the budget. I think that it's--that it is restraint of spending, and I think it's growth of government and the economy--and the recover of our economy.

So we're going to balance the budget with (a) declining revenues, (b) no increased taxes, (c) a 700 billion dollar bailout and (d) some mysterious "restraint of spending." Does he believe this stuff, or does he think it's somehow to his political advantage to say really, really dumb things?
9.22.2008 6:40pm
Cornellian (mail):
I do not regard the NYT as a paragon of journalistic integrity. Nor do I revile it. Either position, it seems to me, is overly extreme.
9.22.2008 6:49pm
Patrick216:
Asher:

I think McCain's statement is a combination of (a) a lack of opportunity to fully analyze the impact of the bailout on his budget plan; and (b) a desire to stick to his original campaign promises until it becomes fully manifest that a tax increase is necessary.

For what it's worth, I don't see how we're going to be able to avoid a tax increase. We can't run a huge current accounts deficit with China and other nations. It breaks my heart to say this, but I do think we are going to need to hike taxes to offset at least a portion of the bailout, at least in the short term.

Assuming that came to pass, what I'd ideally like to see is a multi-year tax program that broadly takes McCain's tack but includes a steep tax increase on incomes over the mystical $250k level, and on the death tax, with a sunset provision on the tax increases of two years. I think it'd be suicide to increase the capital gains tax to do this.
9.22.2008 6:49pm
Nunzio:
Asher, are you sure the President is the highest paid federal employee?

I would think the football coach at the Air Force Academy makes more.
9.22.2008 6:55pm
Sagar (mail):
There are actually readers of this blog who believe that NYT keeps editorials and hard news separate and demonstrates journalistic integrity! One such gent actually said so in response to my post a couple of days ago :-)

I am not at all surprised by AFP claiming so.

Asher,

I am sure you don't consider yourself a doofus; and while I don't know of your accomplishments, surely all 4 candidates on the 2 tickets have accomplished more and are more skilled in their trade than you. so, pls spare us your brilliance. thank you.
9.22.2008 6:57pm
Asher (mail):
I think McCain's statement is a combination of (a) a lack of opportunity to fully analyze the impact of the bailout on his budget plan; and (b) a desire to stick to his original campaign promises until it becomes fully manifest that a tax increase is necessary.

He's certainly entitled to say he's not for raising taxes until he's given the matter some thought, but you'd have to be insane to think the budget's getting balanced next year. And everything else he's said over the past week has been really weak. Fire Chris Cox, appoint Buffett, Mitt Romney (??), and Bloomberg to sit on some kind of bailout oversight commission - what? The incumbent Mayor of the largest city in the country has the time to oversee the bailout? What did McCain do, look through a poll of the most well-known names in America and pick the first three he saw that have been involved in finance at some point in their lives?
9.22.2008 6:58pm
Houston Lawyer:
It is a truism that we can balance the budget without a tax increase. The only question is whether we can muster the political will to reduce government spending.

My federal taxes this year will be four to five times the annual principal and interest payments I must pay on my house. I vote that we don't increase my taxes until every one else making less money than me pays their proportionate share.
9.22.2008 6:58pm
OrinKerr:
Does this really have to turn into another "The Media Hates Republicans" blog?

Not only does it not have to, but it must not. On the other hand, whether this really has to turn into another blog with obnoxious commenters is left as an exercise for the reader.
9.22.2008 7:03pm
Splunge:
The New York Times is regarded by some observers in America as a paragon of journalistic standards which keeps its news reporting and opinion comment strictly separate.

Absolutely true, since "some" is defined as "a number greater than zero."

There are also "some" observers who still think Julius Rosenberg was innocent, that NASA faked the moon landings, and that the Earth is flat.

"Some" observes even think that journalists who use vague insinuating constructions like "some observers" or who lapse entirely into the even more implicitly deceptive passive voice "it is said that..." (by definition true as soon as you utter what follows) are sneaky nitwits who by their airy abuse of the English language make a mockery of the amusing not to say nearly oxymoronic concept of "journalistic standards."
9.22.2008 7:04pm
trad and anon:
Asher, are you sure the President is the highest paid federal employee?

I would think the football coach at the Air Force Academy makes more.
The West Point and Annapolis coaches are paid more too. I believe the same is true of all 50 states too: the highest-paid state employee is a men's football coach. Except maybe there are some states where the highest-paid state employee is a men's basketball coach.
9.22.2008 7:07pm
Ak:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Avoid_weasel_words

It's hilarious when the media can't even uphold wikipedia's guidelines against injecting bias. Or pathetic. Probably the latter.
9.22.2008 7:11pm
Nate in Alice:
Let me get this straight:

1. McCain runs an ad linking a FMFM executive to Obama. (In reality, their association is tenuous).

2. NYT points out that Rick Davis, top campaign official for McCain, lobbied for FMFM for around 2MM. His relationship with McCain was in large part the reason FMFM hired him.

3. McCain goes to war with NYT for being liberal.

4. Orin Kerr posts this on the VC.

Ahh, libertarianism.
9.22.2008 7:12pm
Christopher M (mail):
The people who write and edit the Times do tend to have a certain worldview -- all the usual things that come with being part of the coastal upper-middle-class cultural elite. It's quite reasonable to think that this worldview, its assumptions and its values come through in the writing and editing of the paper. On the other hand, to talk as if its news division were subordinating mainstream journalistic values to an effort to push a strong ideological line is just silly. Anyone who thinks that needs to work on overcoming their own perceptual biases.

To put out that quantity of mostly good writing every day, covering such a range of topics, with the level of investigation and accuracy that the Times achieves -- which is not remotely close to perfect --, is extremely impressive and makes the Times a worthwhile read.
9.22.2008 7:20pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Not only does it not have to, but it must not. On the other hand, whether this really has to turn into another blog with obnoxious commenters is left as an exercise for the reader.

Well, if you put cheese in the mousetrap, you really can't complain when a mouse ends up in it.

Look, I understand that conservatives believe with every fibre of their being that the New York Times is "biased". And there are senses in which I agree with this-- the editorial staff of the paper is quite liberal and that can skew coverage.

What I can't stand, however, is the overselling and oversimplification. The New York Times is also the best newspaper in the US, a far higher quality product than "conservative" papers like the New York Post and the Orange County Register. It produces huge amounts of information, scoops, investigative reporting, etc. And most of that stuff has no bias at all and is entirely factual.

Further, the bias at the New York Times is subtle and for the most part relatively minor, and sometimes tilts conservative as well as liberal (e.g., Judith Miller's reporting before the Iraq War). Meanwhile, Roger Ailes operates an absolute propaganda outlet on television, which conservatives pretend is either completely "fair and balanced", or, at the most, is only biased in the same sense the New York Times is. When's the last time Fox News did any good tough investigative reporting that exposed the abuses of a beloved figure of the conservative movement?

And the reality is even though I can't stand the mission of Fox News, even that bias is overblown. Nobody loses elections in the US because of media bias, on either side. And yet conservatives pretend like the media is Pravda or something.
9.22.2008 7:21pm
CB55 (mail):
When McCain is not playing up the role of War Hero and Torture Victim he and Palin play Victim of the "Liberal Media". When played and sung correctly it gets more votes than talking about his record and the GOP record for the past 30 years.
9.22.2008 7:29pm
Mike& (mail):
Nobody loses elections in the US because of media bias, on either side.

What do you make of this research?
9.22.2008 7:29pm
trad and anon:
I largely agree with Dilan Esper. The New York Times does, in fact, keep reporting and opinion strictly separate. Their issue is that journalists are human beings and their biases necessarily creep into their reporting despite attempts to stay objective. There's a big difference between trying hard and doing a pretty good but imperfect job and not trying at all, which is what conservative papers like the New York Post do.
9.22.2008 7:31pm
OrinKerr:
Dilan,

Perhaps I just give too much credit to VC readers, but I had assumed they had the modicum of intelligence needed to distinguish between (a) a post criticizing the New York Times, and (b) a post poking fun at the AFP for having a funny line at the end of a media bias article, funny in that it itself is pretty clearly biased. This post was obviously (b), not (a).

I guess it's like when we were blogging about Palin: If I recall correctly, some commenters thought I was to blame for saying things that seemed to remind readers of things that would be blameworthy if I had actually said them. Gotta love the Internets.
9.22.2008 7:31pm
trad and anon:
It's hilarious when the media can't even uphold wikipedia's guidelines against injecting bias. Or pathetic. Probably the latter.
Wikipedia does a pretty lousy job of it too.
9.22.2008 7:34pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
What do you make of this research?

That it is a pretty big stretch to extrapolate from 45 college undergraduates observed for a short period of time in an artificial setting to the voting behaviors of tens of millions of American voters after a long presidential campaign?

And seriously, 1984? I'd love for it to be true that the public really agreed with liberals and wanted Mondale over Reagan but for media bias, but somehow I doubt that's the actual explanation for the result of that election.
9.22.2008 7:34pm
Houston Lawyer:
I wonder whether those defending the NYT have ever met a conservative much less had an actual conversation with one. If you think that a paper that reflects only your point of view represents the Gospel truth, you should continue to read the NYT and not venture onto a blog where someone might have the temerity to disagree.
9.22.2008 7:35pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Perhaps I just give too much credit to VC readers, but I had assumed they had the modicum of intelligence needed to distinguish between (a) a post criticizing the New York Times, and (b) a post poking fun at the AFP for having a funny line at the end of a media bias article, funny in that it itself is pretty clearly biased. This post was obviously (b), not (a).

Prof. Kerr:

I understand your intention, but the problem is, you are assuming your conclusion. I bet you a lot of us don't think there's anything incorrect about how AFP described conservative claims of NYT bias, and therefore the claim of irony would fail.

In any event, the first line of my post is really my main point-- if you post something like this, you can't be shocked, shocked, to find media bias discussions in this establishment.
9.22.2008 7:39pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
What I can't stand, however, is the overselling and oversimplification. The New York Times is also the best newspaper in the US, a far higher quality product than "conservative" papers like the New York Post and the Orange County Register. It produces huge amounts of information, scoops, investigative reporting, etc. And most of that stuff has no bias at all and is entirely factual.

Further, the bias at the New York Times is subtle and for the most part relatively minor, and sometimes tilts conservative as well as liberal (e.g., Judith Miller's reporting before the Iraq War). Meanwhile, Roger Ailes operates an absolute propaganda outlet on television, which conservatives pretend is either completely "fair and balanced", or, at the most, is only biased in the same sense the New York Times is. When's the last time Fox News did any good tough investigative reporting that exposed the abuses of a beloved figure of the conservative movement?
If you want a view of their news biases, you just need to look at where they report and where they don't. How hard have they gone after Obama's CAC experience and ties? Or John Edward's screwing around on his wife who has cancer? Or Biden's ties to the financial institutions that he is supposed to be overseeing? Compare to the time and effort they spend going after McCain and Palin.

And maybe not as accurate, but someone did a survey of their news titles and it turned out that Obama was mentioned substantially more often than McCain was, and in more positive terms. That isn't strictly news, but....
9.22.2008 7:40pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Further, the bias at the New York Times is subtle and for the most part relatively minor, and sometimes tilts conservative as well as liberal (e.g., Judith Miller's reporting before the Iraq War). Meanwhile, Roger Ailes operates an absolute propaganda outlet on television, which conservatives pretend is either completely "fair and balanced", or, at the most, is only biased in the same sense the New York Times is. When's the last time Fox News did any good tough investigative reporting that exposed the abuses of a beloved figure of the conservative movement?
You are, of course, entitled to your own beliefs. But I see a lot more balance on Fox news than I do either CNN or, in particular, MSNBC. Again, my same questions about them as I had about NYT news. MSNBC is Palin scandals full time, with no mention whatsoever of the Obama and Biden scandals that are as bad, if not worse. There is a reason that Democrats like Hillary and Obama go on Fox, while the Republicans are far less likely to go on MSNBC and CNN, and that has a lot to do with who thinks they will be treated fairly.
9.22.2008 7:45pm
CB55 (mail):
Does any one think that Ms. Average White WalMart Mama reads the New York Times? Most newspapers are dying for the lack of readership. Jay Leno will tell you that that too many Americans do not know Obama from an oboe, and could not hold tell a potted plant what state McCain calls home. McCain knows he has more to worry about than what is printed in the Times or any other paper because if it is not on TV Mr and Ms WalMart America do not get it and most of the time they change channels either for a beer, a trip to the bath room or a snack when they hear an oboe being played by any one no matter the color, gender or place of origin
9.22.2008 7:45pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
There is a reason that Democrats like Hillary and Obama go on Fox, while the Republicans are far less likely to go on MSNBC and CNN, and that has a lot to do with who thinks they will be treated fairly.

No, it has to do with who is afraid to take a tough question.
9.22.2008 7:49pm
Sagar (mail):
Nate in Alice,

Would you get your head out of Alice and read the post? Orin poked fun at AFP for stating NYT is unbiased; where did you get all the rest of the stuff?

Dilan Esper,

You give American people too much credit for their ability to notice the "subtle" nuanced bias of NYT. I can assure you (with the same degree of confidence you have for your position) that NYT news is also biased.

You must have seen the story on McCain's alleged affair with a lobbyist on NYT front page? Did you see anything about the Edwards affair? This is just one example and the Iraq war coverage (all the rage when the news was bad and shove the "good" news to back pages) may offer other examples. It is one thing to argue that it is the best newspaper in the country (with all its warts), but to claim that it is not biased in its news coverage doesn't add to your credibility.
9.22.2008 7:50pm
hawkins:
maybe I'm a bit slow, but how is AFP's coverage biased here?
9.22.2008 7:51pm
Mike& (mail):
Perhaps I just give too much credit to VC readers, but I had assumed they had the modicum of intelligence needed to distinguish between (a) a post criticizing the New York Times, and (b) a post poking fun at the AFP for having a funny line at the end of a media bias article, funny in that it itself is pretty clearly biased. This post was obviously (b), not (a).

I got the joke. "Some observers" (presumably those who see the world objectively) think the Times is objective. "Conservatives," (presumably those who do not see the world objectively) see otherwise. Hence, the article very subtly is trying to imply that only the biased see the Times as being biased. The article is thus an amazing example of how one can subtly insert bias into an "objective" news story.

Yes, I got it. I imagine Dilan got the joke, too. (Though you two disagree, s/he seems very smart.)

That said, many of us enjoy debating this tired media bias issue. It's the new abortion or death penalty. I rarely never abortion or the death penalty. That is so yesterday. The arguments are old and tired. There is nothing new to discuss.

Media bias debates have a couple of more good years left in them.
9.22.2008 7:51pm
The Ace (mail):
When's the last time Fox News did any good tough investigative reporting that exposed the abuses of a beloved figure of the conservative movement?

Well, if this is some sort of standard, when is the last time MSNBC or CNN did this to a liberal?

Roger Ailes operates an absolute propaganda outlet on television

Something you couldn't possibly demonstrate factually.
9.22.2008 8:06pm
The Ace (mail):
[Deleted by OK. The Ace, I've had to warn you before about your uncivil comments. Unfortunately, you seem unable or uninterested in changing your comment style: You appear to need to insult people in every comment, and everyone who disagrees with you gets labeled "stupid," and "silly," etc. Our comment threads would be better without that kind of nastiness. Please do not comment here any more; your account is banned.]
9.22.2008 8:07pm
Nate in Alice:
Oh, Sagar, pardon me for bringing up the events that prompted the AFP article.

Silly me.
9.22.2008 8:15pm
Nothing to see here:
Liberal comedians. NYT may be biased, but not as bad as Fox News! High comedy indeed.

First, the NYT drives news coverage, FOX does not. Its bias, then, is much more important in terms of framing national debates. Second, both institutions are incredibly biased because the people in their organizations reflect their ideological views. Most journalists are liberal, and the NYT is the best gig you can get as a journalist. You're going to get, then, some really good -- but also very biased -- liberals. That doesn't make them bad people. But human nature being what it is, it is going to cause the coverage to be skewed.

It's really naive to believe that "your side" is so much better than the other side. Most conservative or liberals hold their views sincerely and strongly, and when those two forces combine, bias will inevitably creep in. You can't stop it, but you can at least acknowledge that it happens and not try to be an apologist.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/krauthammer100200.asp
9.22.2008 8:16pm
OrinKerr:
Nate in Alice,

Actually, Sagar was correct: You weren't responding to the thread, but rather were presenting things as if I had said something I didn't. More broadly, please keep comments civil: I realize you have strong opinions, but commenters who cannot be civil to each other will be banned.
9.22.2008 8:18pm
Nothing to see here:
A little harsh on the Ace, OK. I say that not because his posts are necessarily civil, but he's often responding to some pretty condescending, vituperative remarks that are left by others.

I applaud your efforts to clean up the atmosphere, but I hope you haven't deleted the "take" and kept the "give."
9.22.2008 8:24pm
OrinKerr:
Nothing to see here:

Maybe you should debate this with the commenters who thought I was biased because I hadn't banned the Ace weeks ago?
9.22.2008 8:29pm
Nate in Alice:
Orin,

Just because my sarcasm isn't so dead-pan as to be unrecognizable doesn't mean that I'm being uncivil.

And the NYT's biases are part of today's McCain talking points, so it's only fair to discuss what actually prompted the talking points.
9.22.2008 8:29pm
Nothing to see here:
Then why haven't you banned Anderson and Juke Box and a number of others? There are a lot of serial offenders around here.

But I didn't see that debate, so my apologies.
9.22.2008 8:30pm
Michael B (mail):
"... you are assuming your conclusion. I bet you a lot of us don't think there's anything incorrect about how AFP described conservative claims of NYT bias, and therefore the claim of irony would fail." Dilan Esper, assuming his conclusions while warning of the great error involved in assuming one's conclusions

That there are people who fail to believe in the earnestness and objectivity of the NYT is a great shame. Whether it's the very earnest Walter Duranty reporting on Stalin's famine in the Ukraine (from within the Ukraine, no less), the equally earnest David Halberstam reporting on Vietnam or the current self-policing, self-promoting "public editors" of the NYT, rest assurred, all is well at the NYT.
9.22.2008 8:35pm
theobromophile (www):
Prof. Kerr: The first sentence, in which the AFP sways that McCain "lashed out" at the "venerable" NYT, was really the best.

McCain may as well be stealing from old ladies and kicking dogs, with all that lashing out at respectable institutions.
9.22.2008 8:38pm
Sarcastro (www):

silly and obscene


Like a naked clown.
9.22.2008 8:39pm
theobromophile (www):
AFP "says," not "sways." Mea culpa.
9.22.2008 8:39pm
Splunge:
The New York Times is also the best newspaper in the US, a far higher quality product than "conservative" papers like the New York Post and the Orange County Register.

Assumes a fact not in evidence, hey? It can't be "the best" if it's subject to massive partisan rot, which is the assertion others -- including something like 45-60% of the population, depending on which survey you believe -- are making.

It produces huge amounts of information, scoops, investigative reporting, etc. And most of that stuff has no bias at all and is entirely factual.

And most of it is not important, too. You might as well note that 80% of the words printed are uncontroversial -- because they are the text content of advertisement, city service schedules, public notices, stories about traffic accidents, and so forth. All plain factual stuff, yes, but only interesting to a tiny sliver of people, those whom it directly concerns. This is more "bulletin board" stuff than serious national newsgathering.

What you need to establish -- what others are debating -- is whether the really important Page 1A storylines, the stuff millions of people would like to know, to help make national-scale decisions, is being reported squarely, without any attempt to influence decisions one way or the other. There aren't very many of those, and if they're being perverted by a political agenda, it kind of doesn't matter that the movie reviews and "Style" descriptions of runway shows are untainted. You might as well argue that a lawyer shouldn't be disbarred despite having perjured himself on a key bit of testimony in a capital murder trial because, hey, 90% of his work, the filing of routine motions, his response to uncontroversial discovery requests, blah blah, was perfectly in order.
9.22.2008 8:42pm
Sagar (mail):
Orin or Prof. Kerr (however you 'd like to be addressed)

I am sure you have valid reasons for banning people, but could we see the post that resulted in the said banning? That way, the "culprit" can have his swansong for posterity, while we ordinary folks can have a data point of what crosses the line?
9.22.2008 9:00pm
therut (mail):
Here is a hint. Most people in the USA do not read the NYT or probalby heard of it. The NYT does not represent " all the news that is fit to print". The USA in NOT NYC or Washington D.D. If the newspaper industry want to survive they will set up camp in somewhere like MO or KS not NYC. Most people do not give a rats ass what people in NYC think. I know that sounds odd to those who live there but we really do not care. We may visit but we leave and go home. Most will never visit and their lives will not be any less important cause they did not. Those of us who do know the NYT even exists are very, very tired of their bias. We really have got to the point that we do not give a sh-t. Got it.
9.22.2008 9:17pm
wolfefan (mail):
Thanks for the ban, Orin. I'm stunned that anyone could compare Anderson to The Ace - that poster must not have been reading for very long....I have never seen Anderson refer to those who disagree with him with such consistent contempt and abuse as did The Ace...
9.22.2008 9:22pm
Dave N (mail):
Sagar,

I think every conspirator has his own policy--and I note that OK does warn people before banning them.

I once had a comment deleted by EV because I called another commenter's argument "sophistry." I still think it was a fair comment (though I do not remember the topic). But as I said on a different thread last week, it is their playground and the rest of us are just visitors.
9.22.2008 9:22pm
CB55 (mail):
Does any one know of the origin of the term "Liberal Media"? Is Liberal Media something one can measure by formula, compute/calculate, weigh, or is it something some must see or have a knee jerk reaction too as a subjective human value. I do not think any news media as Fox News as owned by Rubert Murdoch would be mistaken for MSNBC , or Roger Ailes shares the same values as Amy Goodman. They have very different audiences but share some of the same promoters, corporate America.
9.22.2008 9:23pm
Sagar (mail):
Dave,

I remember the comment that this is their playground and we are visitors:)

I wasn't questioning his right to ban - just would like to see the "offending" post!
9.22.2008 9:39pm
David Warner:
Dilan,

"And there are senses in which I agree with this-- the editorial staff of the paper is quite liberal and that can skew coverage."

Again, if they were liberal, they would make an effort to understand viewpoints other than their own, if only to more effectively dismantle them when necessary. The problem is that they're half-assed left with little curiosity for dissenting views, even liberal ones. As the rest of the world resents the ugly American, so the rest of America resents the ugly New Yorker as promulgated by the Times worldview into our local papers and TV news.

And you are correct that the parts of the paper unengaged with the great issues of the day are outstanding. Pinch has more taste than sense. We can hope that greatness skips a generation - does Pinch have any children? Who's next? Paunch?
9.22.2008 9:41pm
David Warner:
The Times has become a Tory paper, where modern-day Tories look to the whole of Europe rather than merely Great Britain for their lead. It's no surprise that AFP approves.
9.22.2008 9:44pm
Sagar (mail):
CB55,

If you show me the monolithic "corporate America" I will tell you the secret formula for Liberal Media. (hint: the knee has to jerk in the other direction:-)
9.22.2008 9:47pm
Dave N (mail):
Sagar,

On reflection, you do have a point--perhaps if OK showed us "the final straw" might cause some of the "edgier" commenters to tone themselves down.

I have said elsewhere that I come to the VC because there is intelligent conversation and the blog is not an echo chamber. Though I often disagree with them, I have nothing but respect for commenters like Mark Field, Ben Davis, Loki13, and Anderson, who all remain civil a good 95%+ of the time--that there is a difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable.
9.22.2008 9:52pm
Shalom Beck (www):
The Washington Post is, today, a far better paper than the New York Times on national politics.

If you want to get a sense of how biased the Times is on national issues, just compare NYT coverage of the Presidential race to NYT coverage of Eliot Spitzer, both pre and post-Emperor's Club.
9.22.2008 10:12pm
Not wolfefan:
Wolfefan,

While I agree that Anderson didn't rival Ace in the insult department in earlier entries, his more recent entries are full of insulting rhetoric. He's become increasingly shrill as the election approaches (in fairness, many have). He has a bad habit of mocking others and then calling anyone who points out some of his sillier comparisons hacks. So, unless you think "hack" is a civil term, I think you're off base yourself on this one.
9.22.2008 10:22pm
hawkins:

Then why haven't you banned Anderson and Juke Box and a number of others?


Are you seriously comparing the two of them to The Ace?
9.22.2008 10:24pm
OrinKerr:
It's better for me not to spend a lot of time debating the merits of different commenters, but I want to point out that I agree it is bizarre to compare The Ace and Anderson. Anderson has been commenting here for years, and over the years he has established himself as a thoughtful and important member of the VC commenting crew. If he has had a few over the top comments recently, that's unfortunate, but I'm not going to ban someone who has been commenting well here for years on the basis of just a few posts. In contrast, the Ace was a relatively recent addition, and the majority of his comments were grating and obnoxious.
9.22.2008 10:32pm
Not wolfefan:
Orin

If? How can calling another poster a "hack" resemble civil discourse? It's not as if it's been one or two posts, there have been many. Maybe the guy has built up a good enough rep to let such insulting rhetoric go by the wayside, but you guys should at least say as much. Give him a grating and obnoxious pass if you will. But if that's debatable, I have to wonder what the standard is for civil discourse around here.

Very disappointing.
9.22.2008 10:47pm
OrinKerr:
Not wolfefan:

If you think the comment-editing is disappointing to readers, you should try imagining how disappointing the commenting is for us bloggers. The very worst is the whiny complaints from anonymous commenters who always complain that they are being treated unfairly for one reason or another. Everyone is oppressed on blog comment threads, it seems, and someone else is always to blame. It's really quite ridiculous.
9.22.2008 11:08pm
Sarcastro (www):
I would like to complain about the quality of this free blog! Why do you not cater to MY need to have people who I want banned banned? And make topics that I want to talk about!

I swear, the service here sucks. I'm so not leaving a tip!
9.22.2008 11:16pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Orin:

I fail to see the bias in the list sentence by the AFP.

"But it is reviled by conservatives who rail against the perceived liberal bias of the mainstream media."

Ok. No comma, so the last part of the sentence (everything after "who") is a restrictive clause. So all it is saying is that those conservatives who rail against the perceived liberal bias of the mainstream media (perceived by them, whether rightly or wrongly) generally revile the New York Times as an examplar of that perceived problem.

What am I missing? I'd like to be in on the joke.
9.22.2008 11:32pm
CB55 (mail):
Sagar:

One of the few things that is monolithic in "corporate America" is that they all want your money, most have the same lawyers and enjoy the pleasure of the same banks/investors, insurance companies, lobby groups, and most often their elites exist in the same social/business network (school connection, political, social and business association etc). Both recent political conventions were in larger part paid with corporate money. Both major candidates are being enriched by Wall Street money because no one can march to the White House with out Money. During WW II Allied corporate money funded both Germany and the Allies (Prescott Bush and a host of American, German British and Swiss companies got richer over the bodies of dead Jews, gays, gypsies, "feeble minded" children and adults and other undesirables).
9.22.2008 11:33pm
Not wolfefan:
I don't know who is claiming that "they" are being treated unfairly. My complaint is that the standards here are applied very loosely. I do not believe you have any obligation to act in a non-arbitrary fashion, other than that I've always considered you to be pretty reasonable. What is striking, though, is how some posters here make some plainly uncivil comments and get a free pass. I encourage the monitoring, because it's those type of comments that create the poisonous atmosphere. I'd much prefer to be free of the Ann Coulters of the world. But if you're going to allow the the Markos Moulitsases of the world to post here, I'd rather see their equal on the other side. I'm not suggesting that you are idelogically biased, which would be ironic given the thread. I do wonder, though, whether your familiarity with long-time posters has caused you and others to ignore some similarly bad behavior.

If that's another whiny anonymous post, so be it.
9.22.2008 11:38pm
CB55 (mail):
Not wolfefan:

One day I had jury duty and was told by the judge that the courts seeks to do the due process of law, and that matters of justice and fairness was a question or concern for God, sermons and philosophy. A like minded statement can be said the news media which is hated and feared and not often tolerated by public figures and the state.
9.22.2008 11:50pm
OrinKerr:
Not wolfefan,

You seem to be missing something important: given that I have a day job, I don't read many comment threads. There are probably 1,000 comments here every day, and I don't read more than about 200 of them. As I hope you understand, I do not delete comments that I am not aware of and haven't read. This creates a real loophole in our comment policy: if someone posts a nasty comment that I don't see, I won't delete it.
9.22.2008 11:51pm
Floridan:
"There is a reason that Democrats like Hillary and Obama go on Fox, while the Republicans are far less likely to go on MSNBC and CNN, and that has a lot to do with who thinks they will be treated fairly."

Republicans are cowards, uh . . not treated fairly. Yeahhh! That's the ticket!
9.23.2008 12:12am
Randy R. (mail):
Often, when conservatives rail on about the bias of the news media, especially the NY Times, it usually comes down to the fact that they don't like the issue examined very well.

It is the duty of the media to assume that government will lie to us, and when they don't make that assumption (aka, Judith Miller), they get into a morass. As I recall, the media was very harsh on Jimmy Carter and attacked many of his ideas and programs. Did the media give Bill Clinton a free ride? I can hardly think so.

Perhaps the reason that the media is harsher on repubs is because it is they who have been in power for so long now.
9.23.2008 12:25am
CB55 (mail):
Me thinks many have turned on the GOP because the GOP made compassion, ethics, morality and Christian values their battle cry since the days of Raygun. After 9/11 they trusted Bush and Big Government and both parties and the state failed. Then they trusted the Free Market and Capitalism and it is now a fallen god. After Katrina they have less faith in science except to surf the Internet and watch 500 movies on HDTV.
9.23.2008 12:35am
CB55 (mail):
The 2008 election is close because both parties have not scored a moral victory and both parties are corrupt
9.23.2008 12:38am
CB55 (mail):
Jay Leno, SNL and David Letterman had a field day of jokes about Slick Willie.
9.23.2008 12:40am
SeaLawyer:

Often, when conservatives rail on about the bias of the news media, especially the NY Times, it usually comes down to the fact that they don't like the issue examined very well.


It's not always the issue's being examined, it's the way the issue's are examined.
9.23.2008 12:54am
CB55 (mail):
SeaLawyer:

LOL, there is more than one way to eat cook a hot dog
9.23.2008 1:45am
Erik3:
This is the way the NYT is seen all over Europe. Whatever is written in the NYT is quoted as absolute truth, and no further source is deemed necessary. If it's in the NYT, it's true, and is repeated in all the papers. (On occation, it's even suggested that the NYT, as a US paper, supports the Bush administration. In case the NYT isn't critical enough that is)

It's a good thing to know that when you see all these polls about "who the world would elect as president".
9.23.2008 5:05am
JosephSlater (mail):
(1) I think Orin did something amusing in the way the AFP article described the situation;

(2) It's not surprising, though, that some folks equated this to the current Republican talking point that the media is just incredibly, awfully, unfair to them.

(3) I've said it before and I'll say it again: you can tell which side thinks it is losing (and this really is bipartisan) by noting which side is complaining more about allegedly unfair media coverage

(4) Finally, not to pile on, but Orin is absolutely right about Ace (and about distinguishing him from Anderson).
9.23.2008 10:43am
David Warner:
Slater:

"(2) It's not surprising, though, that some folks equated this to the current Republican talking point that the media is just incredibly, awfully, unfair to them."

Current? It goes back to Nixon. Although they've been winning elections with this approach since then, it hasn't helped much with governing. Perhaps a new one is warranted.
9.23.2008 12:23pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
"Based on the comment thread, this post is a bit too subtle for some of our readers."

No Orin, it is the comments that are too subtle for you -- they satirize the type of commenter who would mistake this post about the Agency France-Presse for a post about the New York Times.
9.23.2008 1:06pm
You say buy us, I say by us:
Rather than have OK try to draw an imaginary line regarding bannable comments, I would link to this comment from a few weeks back as a helpful guide.
9.23.2008 2:02pm
josh:
Prof Kerr

I'd like to think the First A is among our most cherished values, but I have to thank you for banning a commenter that has been a really negative to the threads on this site.

I often disagree with a wide variety of people here (not gonna lie, I think you and many of the other posters have more of a "reader bias" than the media has a bias, although I do think the sentences you cite here are poor). But I prefer this site for its civility.

Before I became a lawyer, I was a news reporter for a Chicago legal paper (thus my bias about bias complaints). A major source of news was the local bar associations and their never-ending seminars about civility in the practice of law. I didn't get the import until I became a practicing lawyer (I swear, it's always the other guy's fault!) Unlike most, I love being a lawyer and could only see changing careers b/c of the incivility of some opposing counsel.

Thanks for doing your part. You and 90% of your co-bloggers provide the best forum on the 'nets for civil legal and political discourse and a good deal of that is due to the civil tone. [that said with a full recognition that I need to watch my tongue from time to time as well]
9.23.2008 6:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nothing:

Then why haven't you banned Anderson and Juke Box and a number of others? There are a lot of serial offenders around here.


Some of The Ace's fine work can be found via here (although he's not the only contributor to that collection). If you can demonstrate that I have a similar track record, that would interest me greatly.

But I appreciate that you paid me the compliment of comparing me with Anderson.
9.23.2008 6:19pm
David Warner:
Jukeboxspam,

You are Ace's shadow.
9.23.2008 11:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I realize an ounce of evidence would be too much to expect.
9.24.2008 8:07am