Home / General / Why Columnists at the Newspaper of Record Matter

Why Columnists at the Newspaper of Record Matter


Good job New York Times. Good job.

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  • njorl

    Now Bret Stephens can write a column about how the EPA chief cited consensus opinion at many of the nation’s leading newspapers as part of Trump’s motivation for pulling out of the agreement.

    • Judas Peckerwood

      A climate-denial circle jerk! Just wait until they get into the health benefits of increased “emissions”!

      • keta

        A rising tide will raise all dicks.

    • Scrooge

      Then we talk about the “controversy” and National Review can cite Pruitt’s statement citing Stephens’s column as evidence that “reasonable people can disagree.”

      It’s your standard Fox News Play.

  • efgoldman

    EPA chief uses flawed NYT column from Bret Stephens

    In this case, what the fuck difference does it make? This particular EPA chief would use little green petroleum engineers from Mars if he needed to.
    They were going to do it, no matter what. You didn’t really expect them to tell the truth “We’re doing it because Obama signed it and job one is undoing everything that goddamned ni[clang] did.”

    • McAllen

      I certainly can’t imagine Trump would’ve stayed in the Paris Agreement if the NYT hadn’t hired Stephens, but being able to cite Stephens lends Pruitt an authority (in the eyes of some people, at least) that he would have otherwise lacked.

      • Derelict

        Dick Cheney feeds Judith Miller fake intelligence regarding Iraq.
        Miller dutifully prints the fake intelligence in the NYT.
        Cheney goes on Sunday morning shows and cites NYT as evidence.
        NYT prints Cheney’s Sunday show appearances as further proof that original NYT article was right.

        • libarbarian

          Unlike that scenario, Stevens work was clearly an OpEd.

          He also cited Democratic criticism of Comey as his reason for firing him. I didn’t see many people blame those critics for giving Trump ammunition or justification. We all knew it was bullshit and he would have done it anyway.

          But, of course, those critics were people we liked. We don’t like Stevens, so it suits our purposes to act like this isn’t the same kind of bullshit excuse for something he would have done anyway

          • Aaron Morrow

            Unlike that scenario, Stevens work was clearly an OpEd.

            Good think media pundits choose to stress that distinction only when it suits them, huh?

          • random

            “We don’t like Stevens, so it suits our purposes”

            I don’t see the problem here.

      • efgoldman

        but being able to cite Stephens lends Pruitt an authority (in the eyes of some people, at least) that he would have otherwise lacked.

        Pruitt has/had an unreasonable, pure hatred of the thing from before he was a little baby congresscritter.
        The fact that they use a “liberal, authoritative outlet” as an excuse is a tell that they know they are wrong from the get-go.

        • Kerans

          Or maybe, it’s a tell that they’re trolling.

      • addicted44

        It also clearly illustrates how bad a decision the times made.

    • tsam

      We end up burning energy fending off the inevitable “Even the liberal NYT…” arguments.

      • John Revolta

        Yeah this.

        Sadly, there’s still plenty of people who take that rag seriously. Low-info voters: Both Sides Do It!

      • Pat

        I now refuse to click on any of their stories, if I know that it’s the NYT. I also don’t click on Faux.

        CNN, WaPo, local papers, they get my clicks instead. One person does what they can.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Unless you’re intimating a wish to buy the discographies of Kiam Holley and Victor Santiago, I have trouble seeing how support there squares with your advocacy of the Post and local news sources.

        • Judas Peckerwood

          CNN? Really?

          • Hondo

            That was my reaction as well.

    • Dilan Esper

      In this case, what the fuck difference does it make? This particular EPA chief would use little green petroleum engineers from Mars if he needed to.


      Or to be less snarky, he could use one of the many purported “papers” or “studies” generated by the astroturf groups that oppose taking action on global warming.

      One thing I say about my own profession– there always seem to be lawyers around to make bad arguments for moneyed interests. That isn’t meant of a defense of the lawyers who make them (it isn’t), but rather a realistic reminder– even if this lawyer doesn’t make them, someone else will.

      • King Goat

        To me the issue is this: the times is loathed by the Right. They’re not buying that paper, figuratively and literally. Who buys it? Liberals. And yet they seemed determined to undercut us. We should stop buying it.

  • Derelict

    Now that the NYT has decided to crowd-source the public editor function, we can look forward to all kinds of great stuff being published because “the public” says it’s right.

    How long until we get some serious discussion of The Bell Curve? How about some pushback on the dangers of lead in the air and water?

  • tsam

    Putting on my Outrage Police badge…

    Can’t WAIT to hear their impassioned defense of this latest immolation.

  • Rob in CT

    “Flawed” is one way of putting it…

  • wengler

    Ah the Dick Cheney technique.

  • libarbarian

    I think deserves to be taken as seriously as his claims that Dem criticisms of Comey were instrumental in his decision to fire him.

  • Whirrlaway

    So I was wondering the other day why “anybody to the left of Paul Krugman” doesn’t include Gail Collins? Not because she’s a smartass girl, I don’t suppose.

    • Unless I’ve missed something from her, Collins is a pretty conventional liberal Democrat. Virtually everything I’ve read from her is focused on criticizing Republicans. She appears to have been generally more of a Clinton supporter than a Sanders supporter, just like Krugman. Is there any reason to regard her as meaningfully to Krugman’s left?

  • Junipermo

    I just submitted my parting shot about this disaster to the comments section of Liz Spayd’s last column as public editor.

    “As I recall, one of the columns that most irritated readers was the one defending climate change denier Bret Stephens’s first column. Well, congratulations to you and to the NYT–his column was just cited by EPA head Scott Pruitt as justification for Trump pulling us out of the Paris agreement. This is why people excoriated the Times for hiring him, and you, Ms. Spayd, for arguing that his hiring was merely an attempt to hear from a diversity of voices. Climate change denialism is a denial of fact. The Times purports to be a purveyor of fact. Instead, it has lent its credibility to a reckless, irresponsible act undertaken by a dishonest administration. It is astonishing that you couldn’t see how wrong it was to give Stephens’ climate change denialism a platform. And then you wonder why readers don’t trust you.”

    • Srsly Dad Y

      That’s a nice comment, and I agree Stephens is trash, but the NYT isn’t one person that we “trust” or “don’t trust.” In fact, that’s why bylines exist.

      Or, hey, don’t trust the Washington Post, because it employs both George Will and Charles Krauthammer.

      Don’t trust the L.A. Times, which pays Jonah Goldberg and Max Boot.

      Don’t trust Bloomberg at all, because it employs McMegan.

      Don’t trust the McLatchy papers! Home of Andrew Malcolm, you know.

      Trust what deserves trusting. It’s a big world.

      • random

        Agreed the rest of the news media is also selling ice cream with shit mixed into it. But that’s why we need to send a very strong and clear signal to the rest of them by focusing fire on the NYT and putting them out of business for good.

        Cancel if you’re a subscriber, let them know why, and just donate the savings to LGM or some of the myriad left-wing bloggers out there. Because until every journalist reflexively fears writing anything that will piss off the left and Democratic voters, this country’s going to continue to burn.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          I’ll have what you’re having. Must be strong.

          • random

            Most of the people who post here are having the same thing, why not join in? This is a growing movement and a simple, effective, and edifying way to fight back against the GOP’s dominance of US media. The NYT has been a GOP op for many decades now and we need to shut that whole thing down.

            Help starve the beast and cancel your subscription today! Be sure to let them know why!

        • Hondo

          ProPublica is where my money goes lately. Canceled NYT a year ago.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            Oh are we going to start bragging about where we send money now? [very pipe smoking man voice] Settle in, son, I got quite the list

      • The FTFNYT gets more attention for its sins than the WaPo and other sources because (1) it’s vastly more influential than any other newspaper in the country and (2) it was one of the most egregious offenders in fucking the “emails” chicken in a way WaPo never came close to doing. You can’t compare the FTFNYT to Bloomberg or McClatchy or any other newspapers, either. Pressure campaigns often focus on the most influential offender in an industry in part because changing that offender’s practices may also affect the others indirectly. And even if it doesn’t, you’ve still taken care of the most influential offender.

      • mongolia

        The reason for the Stephens specific backlash is threefold:

        1. He was added to a stable of conservative opinion writers they already had, and this is important, between the two they already had the “I’m nevertrump but really I’m nevernevertrump” bullshit covered.

        2. He had influence already as a (the?) main opinion guy at wsj, so moving to the times in lieu of an actual interesting voice means we have another boring republican hack getting a major mouthpiece, since his replacement at wsj will be given a strong platform to amplify Stephens’ message

        3. The two main papers in the country are wapo and nyt, and between the two wapo was faaaaaar superior in 2016 in terms of emphasis of important issues*. By actively recruiting Stephens, they’re doubling down on the behaviour that liberals got worked up over in the first place.

        * – there was (and still is!) great journalism going on at the times on trump and the top, but stuff like story placement and headlines matter, and, as an example, the nyt front page was typically far worse than wapo

    • CrunchyFrog

      Climate change is almost the first modern, orchestrated example of an alternate fact industry. I say “almost” because most of those evil professional liars cut their teeth learning their dark art while being paid by the tobacco industry.

      • John Revolta

        I also remember Monsanto’s classic “Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible!”

        • tsam

          One of the big mining outfits was doing a PR repair. Some poor guy was fishing and they took away his boat because no mining. I sure hope that dude can swim…

      • tsam

        Car manufacturers vs. leaded gas, seatbelts, airbags, mileage standards…

        They can compete with the tobacco trolls.

  • Brett

    Eric, if you wrote out a fake pro-Trump Medium rant under the pseudonym “Kire Simool”, I bet you could get Sean Spicer to mention it in a press conference.

    • tsam

      “Kire Simool”



    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      And if Trump fell asleep tweeting the name, two new words would be created.

  • smott999

    JeeZus can we please make it the EX newspaper of record?
    Cancel your subscription, I don’t care how much you like the Sunday crossword.

    Baquet is flat out trolling us with this Stephens asshole.
    They gave us Judy Miller and Iraq.
    They gave us Trump.


    And tell them why.

    • random

      The WMD thing was classic NYT too. My previous personal favorite was the time they colluded with the Bush campaign to suppress the NSA spying story because they didn’t want him to lose the election. But I think actually printing lies about Trump’s ties to Russia when they knew the opposite to be true has topped that.

      There’s no legitimate journalistic excuse for either decision, and both directly promote the GOP’s interests. But one involves a deliberate decision to just go ahead and print lies in the hard news section of their newspaper, rather than just lie by omission.

    • efgoldman

      I don’t care how much you like the Sunday crossword.

      Amazon has 500+ listings for books of NYT crosswords. You don’t have to buy the paper.
      [Sorry, don’t know how to embed a link without the html button]

      • JR in WV

        Yeah, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE Buttons??

        We get the edit function back, and the very next day the buttons to format your text went away???

        Thanks Trump!!

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Actually, the day we got the edit button back was the day the link limit got halved to one; this formatting fuckery just started happening this week. I’ll go appeal to Matt to refix the code.

  • twbb

    Coincidentally, after all the uproar after his hiring of Stephens, James Bennet has gone quiet on his twitter feed.

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