Now That It’s Over, The Grey Lady Sings
Published on: May 25, 2010
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  • WigWag

    Yes, there’s no question that the new fad amongst journalists seems to be taking the “new” out of “news.”

    A perfect example of this is the recent article on the Jewish Community and Israel by renowned journalist Peter Beinart. Beinart based his entire thesis, that young American Jews are increasingly alienated from Israel, on a focus group that Frank Luntz conducted amongst Jewish college students in 2003.

    The entire Beinart essay that inspired so much attention in May, 2010, was based in large part on a focus group that took place seven years ago. For some reason, Beinart, just got around to telling us about it. I guess it never occurred to Beinart that quite a bit might have changed since the third year of the first term of George W. Bush.

    Is there any doubt that the quality of journalism has declined dramatically in the past generation?

    One “old school” journalist who has written quite eloquently about all of this is Jim Fallows of the Atlantic Magazine (and blog). I see he’s on Mead’s blog roll.

    Whether the topic is global warming, politics or anything else, journalistic ethics seem to be deteriorating by the hour.

    Is it that smart people just don’t go into journalism any more?

  • nadine

    You can add this story to a growing raft of New York Times stories that have to reprise the entire history of a scandal they never reported on because, oops!, the politician just confessed. Quite out of the blue if the New York Times is your only news source, but needless to say, after months or years of denials if you get your news elsewhere. John Edwards was one such case.

    By some strange coincidence, all the politicians involved have a (D) after their name, or as in climate change case, support a cause dear to the Times.

    Any comment on General Petraeus’ “secret” “classified” order for American soldiers to infiltrate Iran? A deliberate leak or is the Times giving our national security away to the enemy again?

  • EconRon

    I was also struck by how desperate and weak the defense of AGW was in this article. I thought, is this the best they have to offer?

    To me the great failing of AGW was the notion that CO2 was a problem because it heated the planet and the proof was the correlation between the fact that the planet was at its hottest just as man has maximized his output of CO2. But the problem is the planet is NOT at its hottest. Even the lib semi-science show Nova on PBS does stories all the time about how the planet was much hotter, and colder, in the past, way before the industrial revolution.

    After all anyone that ever took an anthropology or archaeology class knows that.

    Consequently the MAIN argument of the AGW people is flat out false.

    This made me curious and eventually a fan of Dr Roy Spencer who has a more sensible, if not correct, explanation of climate change.

  • kcom

    – Air America taking public money from a boy’s club in New York to try to stave off bankruptcy
    – Eason Jordan resigning from CNN after saying American troops deliberately targeted journalists
    – Van Jones resigning after publicly espousing Truther views
    – Congress voting on defunding ACORN after video evidence of corruption

    All these are stories the New York Times covered after they were essentially over. While they were developing, not a peep from the Times even though they were heavily covered elsewhere and even when the stories occurred over the span of several weeks. Like Nadine says above, the final outcomes were bolts from the blue if you were dependent on the Times for your news.

  • rbj

    Has the Times ever gotten around to returning Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer, or retracting his hagiography on Stalin’s USSR?

  • Aaah, but you see this conference was not marked “Top Secret” nor did it expose anything that would pose a risk to national security. If it had been, they would have been all over it like white on rice.

  • Hey, it takes a while for a story to make it through all those layers of fact checkers.

  • Dennis

    And my wife wondered why I tore up the latest obvious subscription offering from the Grey Lady without opening the envelope!

  • Fen

    My fav part was where the NYTs pointed to two “independent” reviews that found nothing fraudulent re the CRU scam.

    Anyone who was following that several months ago knows it was a whitewash.

    And the way the NYTs minimizes the scandal, its readers still don’t know what the CRU scam was all about.

  • templar knight

    Yes, indeed, I have a “friend” at work who is rather depressed at the lack of progress on the cap and trade bill in the Senate. She is a great fan of the NYTs, and has had a diffucult time understanding what has happened over the past few months. I referred her to Climate Audit and Watts Up With That(WUWT), two great blogs that have contributed mightily to global warmings fall from grace, and she was astounded.

    But, let’s be big, and let her suffer her fate. She thought for years that she was the most informed person in our office, and has turned out to be one of the least informed on her one big issue. And she has a time share on the Gulf. She has had a real run of bad luck! And deservedly so.

  • Truefilter

    When are we going to hear a single news story on how Al Gore has raked in millions of dollars with his carbon credit scheme will spewing pseudoscience to the masses.

  • Basil Seal

    Could it be that fashionable worry fetishes like eco-concern can only flourish in times or relative plenty and ease? Now that we face the more tangible threat of unemployment, loss of equity, and rising debt those brain cycles previously given over to global warming are now consumed by more pressing matters.

  • Jack

    After commenting, rather negatively I admit, on Mr. Mead’s failure to adequately condemn the sins exposed by the Climategate emails from the Hadley CRU, and his willingness to minimize the scientific fraud committed by Jones, Mann, et al. , I am gratified to learn what will cause him high dudgeon about his journalistic peers: lack of timeliness.

    Now I admire understatement as much as the next man, and few people can turn a phrase with the same nuance and elan as Mr. Mead, but I do not recall him excoriating the NYT, or any of the MSM for not covering any of the Climategates at the time.

    I have no doubt that timliness may well be uppermost in the mind of Mead and, no doubt, his employees as well, but if you will allow me to extend the metaphor, It seems that this is an instance of one whine complaining about the need for maturity of another whine, when both have turned to vinegar.

    What prevents Mr. Mead from bluntly stating the truth? The NYT declined to cover Climategate for political reasons and now must cover it anyway.

    Lying by omission is still lying. Who ever would have believed that journalistic ethics could become an oxymoron?

    In closing, I would like to suggest an alternative headline to the above post.

    The NYT will serve no whine before it’s time. Nor will Mead.

    Have some cheese.

  • WigWag said “Is it that smart people just don’t go into journalism any more?”

    No, it’s just that honest people don’t go into journalism any more. They are all cheerleaders for the left side of the political spectrum.

  • Brian

    Duh. They were waiting for warmer weather.

  • Tex Lovera

    “In other news, former President Bill Clinton admitted to having inappropriate contact with a female White House intern…”

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  • I’m thinking that calling it the “gray lady” gives it credit for more color than it deserves.

    Can we slide down the color scale to somewhere below gray?

    How about the Colorless Lady?

    I read the story Mr. Mead speaks of yesterday or the day before. What puzzles me is that once the science has been corrupted on anything, why didn’t all these brilliant liberal/leftists realize the gig was up?

    It’s been over for some time.

    Colin Renfrew, the Brit (linguist I think or archeologist?) refers to something he calls “systems collapse” when a civilization goes down. The impact to a culture on all its many levels starts on the periphery and works back to the core culture. Part of it is the massive and ongoing disillusionment with the status quo spirituality of the culture, which collapses as well. This hits people the hardest. Climate change has become a near-religious, armageddon-like calling, and perhaps that has kicked in their denial as well.

    I’ve become convinced that people cling to their ideologies because as a species our ability to auger our future through our beliefs and ideals is a survival tool, and when we discover we’ve augered incorrectly, it’s threatening to us and we hunker down into denial. We all do this and the only remedy is awareness of this oh so very human trait.

    Hey, y’all here’s a great link from yesterday, Stratfor, George Friedman, “German’s Options after EU Collapse (otherwise found on RCP’s Tuesday World lineup)

  • James Kantor

    The MSM has an agenda and a narrative, which does not include truth-telling or objective information sharing. The NYT’s treatment of global warming and climate change is the epitome of biased journalism.

    NYTimes’s readers are still ignorant of the fact Kerry-Lieberman (Waxman-Markey) legislation will have close to zero impact on global temperatures:

    This simple fact has not been reported by the NYT and yet, it is “consensus” science from the climate models, which scientists on both sides of the debate don’t contest.

    Old media is for tomorrow’s weather forecast, not for learning about what is actually happening regarding climate change.

  • WigWag

    More on Jim Fallows take on all of this.

    In the mid 1990s, Fallows wrote a book entitled, “Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy” (1996 Pantheon Books).

    The book was written before the internet age, before blogs became popular, before newpapers appeared on-line, before social networking and before “You-Tube.” In fact, when Fallows wrote his book, cable news was still in its infancy.

    After reading Mead’s post, I pulled out my copy which was hiding in a dusty corner in the back of one of my book shelves. It’s remarkable how fresh the book is and how relevant Fallow’s diagnosis of the problem with journalism still is.

    I don’t know if the book is still in print but I am sure its available used and in the library; it’s worth a look.

    Like Zakaria who Mead mentioned in a previous post, Fallows is one of the great American journalists still working today.

  • MGCC

    This is sarcasm, right?

  • GregS

    I think the New York Times needs to remember that its job is to report the news quickly, not to wait until the story has reached the level of scientific validation that would be needed to report it in a peer-reviewed science journal.

  • SC Mike

    The Gray Lady’s new motto: “All the news that fits, we print.”

    At least the Times is usually prompt in disclosing classified information, although it was a bit late in disclosing Gen. David Petraeus’ February memo authorizing black operations against adversaries and such dubious friends as Iran, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

    Perhaps Times’ leadership is angling to replace Newsweek as the periodical dedicated to telling the smart set what to think about what happened last week or last month.

  • OdinsAcolyte

    I have said this for so long I can’t even crow “I told you so” decently. Education is important.
    Using it is even more so. When do the prosecutions begin for this global fraud? Environmental embezeling should be as big a crime as any form of lying before congress or the judicial bench. More so. Oh; I forgot. The perpetrators ARE out judges and congress people. I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath.

  • Rick Caird

    When I first read this story, this caught my eye: ” If the scientific consensus on climate change has not changed”. The only scientific consensus on global warming is the one the Times wishes we had.

    I can think of few things sillier than the claim we have a scientific consensus while the average person does not believe it. Those two ideas do not go together.

  • Victor Erimita

    Once again, the crux of the befuddlement here is the vestigal notion that the New York Times matters. Oh, sure, a dwindling but hard core group of self-referential cultural Brahmins still solemnly trot out their Times and listen to their NPR. But events like the Tea Parties, Scott Brown’s election and the very collapse of the global warming hoax that is the subject of this article show the Times can no longer control the narrative. Because no one believes them any more outside their shrunken little circle of head-in-the-sand paleoleftists.

    So, OK maybe we still need to keep pounding the stake in its heart by posting these kinds of observations. But it seems to me we are well into the time now when the most effective way to kill off whatever remains of the Times’s influence is to ignore it. And when someone solemnly quotes something they read in the Times, just laugh. Oh, really? That’s fascinating. And what does James Carville think? My other favorite line to use with my benighted Times-reading friends is, well, of course you wouldn’t know about this because you read the New York Times, but did you know that….

    As for the claim of “scientific consensus. I think the best response is that yes, there is a consensus among scientists who claim there is a consensus. Or, there is a consensus among scientists who receive their funding from AGW alarmist sources and corporate “green” rent seekers.

  • Peter

    The man-made global warming fraud is dead.

    The next frauds to fall are the costly renewable energy sources (wind, solar, EtOH)
    which are government mandated & subsidized because fedceral & state governments like Ca have bought into the global warming hoax. Fools!

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  • Ernie Banks

    In their rebuttal, I am sure that the New York Times will blame Bush for the late story, and finger Cheney for the fall off of public opinion. Then they’ll get a quote from the Goracle about how climate change is responsible for the gulf oil spill, the Iranian nuclear bomb program, and the sinking of South Korea’s ship by the North Koreans.

  • Axel Edgren

    As a conservative with some awareness of basic economical issues and how they pertain to humanity, I am fully behind the “warm-monger” push to force people to pay for pollution.


    Because pollution is obviously an externality, and we have to pay for those. Americans are not allowed to harm the legitimate interests of people who are much more vulnerable to climate effects our production and consumption force on them.

    It doesn’t matter if you turn to von Mises, Ayn rand or the golden rule of the bible – we are not allowed to let our externalities go unpaid for. It is basic economics and basic morality.

    But. The hatred of left-wingers goes first for right-wingers. They’ll even debase themselves by flinging around pubescent conspiracy theories about thousands of climate scientists conspiring to destroy economic growth make life worse for Western males.

  • RG

    The Climategate email scandal was easily the most impactful historical event in the new millenium. The catastrophe averted through widespread worldwide understanding of the fraud behind world wide governmental control of energy is unimaginable. I would estimate taht the story saved well over 10 billion lives in this century alone…and “the paper of record” finally let its readers know.

  • Sam C

    I am just blown away by the people who still think the Times is relevant. The reporters are an issue all to themselves. Hmmmm … I guess a pack of narcissistic, self important fools would just about cover it.

  • Daniel Miller

    Hey, the article you are referring to was a commentary not a news story. It takes known facts, puts them in a context and offers an opinion for the reader to think about.
    Those facts were already available and if you would have checked even in the New York Times. They were just put together and combined with an opinion. By the way if the NY Times is not quick enough for you do the research yourself; would probably be the first time…

  • But the record will show that the Times covered the story.

  • Go_Figure7722

    The Grey Old Hag is on its deathbed, succumbing to a social disease it can’t shake: I know what’s best for you, if you would just listen to me.

  • As an experienced NY Times reader – I started in 1956 – I have seen this before. The Times covers its backside by retroactively covering things it would rather you didn’t know. Usually on page 46 or thereabouts as my father advised me based on his own experience which he assures me preceded by birth by many years. It is part of being the ‘newspaper of record’. Although he never explained why he always asserted with a certain note of indignation that Stalin had indeed slaughtered the Kulacks in the Ukraine. He never mentioned Duranty. I myself was similarly duped by the Grey Lady into thinking that Castro was a Social Democratic Deviationist rather than a proper Communist. Tut tut! In 2003 an Iraqi blogger -Zeyad of Healing Iraq – reported a massive (10,000) demonstration against the beginnings of the insurgency in downtown Baghdad with photos. Several days later the Times gave it the page 46 treatment. I rolled my eyes heavenward and my father’s voice said. “I told you so.”

  • phil g

    Nice try Axel. The ridiculous carbon credit schemes and other C02 reduction schemes are not about paying for our externalities, they are about more political control over the economy via control over energy and thus more control over people. The varions C02 management and ‘clean energy’
    schemes are examples of extensive corruption. The whole operation to scientifically ‘prove’ AGW was found to be totally corrupted.

    It may be time for you and other AGW believers to find a new religion.

  • Victory

    You haven’t heard of face-saving? What amuses me about NYT writers is their penchant for trying clever writing, sounding oh so intellectual at the expense of plain little things like facts. So they have to sneak them in later. Oh well…I guess better late than never.

  • kim

    All the news that’s left to print.

  • Dennis Fleming

    We should remember that newpaper organizations are in the business of selling papers not reporting news. What sells papers will be printed.
    What the editors fail to realize is that their product no longer meets the needs of many of their customers. We want information in a timely manner. They continually fail to understand that the internet provides the information we want on a timely basis. We can easily compare the information from multiple sites to validate what is published and obtain opposing views.
    I have almost given up on newspapers. I am sure I can find other sources of material to light my campfires.

  • Jack

    ClimateGate — the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks.

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  • Rick Caird: “I can think of few things sillier than the claim we have a scientific consensus while the average person does not believe it. Those two ideas do not go together.”

    Don’t you get it, Rick? The consensus among intellectual elites is precisely the OPPOSITE of what us commoners think.

    A good recent example:
    HuffPo Abolishes Scarcity (at Mises):

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  • The Grey Lady sings again:

    “A British panel issued a sweeping exoneration on Wednesday of scientists caught up in the controversy known as Climategate, saying it found no evidence that they had manipulated their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming.”

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