Last week was not a great week for the New York Post. But then again, not many weeks are. It’s front page last Thursday wrongly identified two innocent young men as the bombers of the Boston Marathon. (It did so without explicitly referring to them as suspects, just to ensure that they wouldn’t lose a lawsuit or have to apologize.)
Murdoch defended his paper on Twitter, because it is 2013 and stuff is weird:
All NYPost pics were those distributed by FBI.And instantly withdrawn when FBI changed directions.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) April 20, 2013
Hm. Here’s how Col Allan defended his story to Salon: “The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men….” So “distributed by the FBI” might be technically accurate (not that we have any way of knowing) but it is not a great defense. The photos were not distributed to the press or to the public, as the photos of the Tsarnaev brothers would be the same day that Post cover ran. The photo was never intended to be put on the front of a newspaper with copy asserting that the people pictured were responsible. There’s also no way to “withdraw” a physical newspaper printed and distributed all over New York City. I saw copies of the paper at bodegas in Brooklyn well into the evening.
Murdoch (who has become shockingly respectable in his old age) loves his New York Post and he will always defend it.
As long as Richard Murdoch has owned it, the New York Post has been defined by its shamelessness and total lack of interest in taking responsibility for its worst errors and poor judgment. It is quite hard to get fired — or be forced to resign in disgrace — from the Post, for the crime of getting something disastrously wrong. No heads rolled when the paper reported in 2004, on the front page, that John Kerry had selected Dick Gephardt as his running mate. The paper even still prints the cartoons of Sean Delonas, a hateful,unfunny, repetitive cartoonist who invariably draws all gay people as mincing cross-dressers and who once plagiarized his own joke within two months of making it. In 2003 the Post published an editorial bemoaning a Yankees loss to the Red Sox the morning after the Yankees beat the Red Sox.
Murdoch’s Post cares so little what others think of it that it doesn’t even make editorial changes that would make it more successful — say, by being less racist and terrible in a diverse, liberal city. The Post is so awful that it has allowed the Daily News — a terminally boring rival tabloid published by a slightly less terrible but much less interesting rich person — to survive.
The thing all these incidents have in common is that no one was punished for them. Post editor Col Allan might be an irresponsible drunk pigfucker (we have no way of confirming or denying the charge!) but he is Rupert’s irresonsible drunk pigfucker. As long as the old man is around, Col’s job is safe.
There are reasons to be cheerful, though: The New York Post is assuredly going to die, and it may even do so fairly soon. This summer, News Corp will split into two companies. One will be made up of the money-making bits of News Corp.: TV stuff and the movie studio, basically. The other will be the newspapers and magazines and book publishing. Murdoch will be chairman of the new newspaper company. Its CEO will be Robert Thomson, former editor of the Wall Street Journal and Murdoch’s “closest confidant,” according to The Australian (a Murdoch paper). Murdoch loves the newspapers. No one else does, which is why that company’s CEO will be an editor, not a person with actual company-running experience. Once Murdoch goes, though, none of his children will care to subsidize their father’s bizarre newspaper-publishing habit. And Rupert Mudoch is 82 years old.
And the Post will probably be the first paper to fold or be sold. The New York Post loses millions of dollars a year. Unlike the Wall Street Journal, rich people who control vast amounts of other rich people’s money don’t read it, making it less interesting to advertisers. The paper, after the Murdoch and Allan regime, is worthless. The New York Post is doomed. Right now we’re just seeing how many people it can smear on its way out.
By: Alex Pareene, Salon, April 22, 2013
Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal continues to trip over its Karl Rove conflict of interest, with the paper’s newsroom routinely failing to mention that the man who helped found an anti-Obama super PAC is also a Journal employee. Time and again this election season the Journal has reported on Rove’s campaign work with American Crossroads, and time and again the newsroom has neglected to acknowledge Rove works for the Journal as a political columnist.
The disclosure failure, and the obvious lack of transparency, is just part of the paper’s ongoing ethical morass with regards to Rove. As Media Matters has reported, scores of editorial page editors have criticized the paper for failing to disclose in its opinion pages where Rove’s anti-Obama columns appear, that Rove is closely associated with an anti-Obama campaign group.
The very fact that the Journal hired Rove, a GOP fundraiser, to write columns about the races Rove is trying to win for the GOP represents a glaring ethical lapse. The Journal’s refusal to disclose those ties only compounds the problem; a problem that extends from the opinion pages to the newsroom.
Today’s front-page Journal article examines whether conservative super PACs have been effective in denting the president’s re-election chances. Rove’s Crossroads group is featured as the pivotal conservative super PAC in the article. Yet nowhere in the piece is it reported that Rove also works for the newspaper.
That transparency failure has become commonplace. On September 6, the newspaper published an article about super PAC fundraising efforts by liberal and conservative groups and noted, “By contrast, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two Republican groups founded with the help of Karl Rove, have spent $67 million combined.”
There was no mention that Rove’s a Journal employee.
On Sept. 5, the Journal focused on the surprisingly tight U.S. senate race in North Dakota, and the amount of outside money pouring into the campaign:
Crossroads GPS, a Republican campaign fund co-founded by Karl Rove in 2010, and Majority PAC, a group that aims to protect Democrats’ Senate majority, have spent heavily and run negative ads in the state.
No mention that Rove’s a WSJ employee.
And back on July 19, the newspaper reported that Crossroads was coming to the aide of Romney with new television ads designed to defend the candidate’s career at Bain Capitol. The Journal noted the super PAC “was founded with the help of Bush White House aide, Karl Rove.”
No mention though, that Rove’s a Journal employee.
By: Eric Boehlert, Sr. Fellow, Media Matters, September 24, 2012
This Wall Street Journal editorial is getting a lot of attention this morning for its scathing criticism of the Romney campaign’s equivocations over whether Obamacare’s individual mandate is or isn’t a tax. Yesterday Romney declared that, yes, it is a tax after all — contradicting his campaign’s earlier contention that it wasn’t — and the editorial blasts Romney for squandering a key issue against Obama.
But let’s face it: The skirmishing over whether the mandate is or isn’t a tax probably won’t have much of an impact on the election’s outcome.
That’s why the real news in the Journal editorial — the stuff that should drive the discussion today — is its scalding attack on Romney’s lack of specificity on multiple issues:
The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it’s Mr. Obama’s fault. We’re on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that “Obama isn’t working.” Thanks, guys, but Americans already know that. What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President’s policies aren’t working and how Mr. Romney’s policies will do better.
The Journal notes the Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s Bain years and offshore accounts, and adds:
All of these attacks were predictable, in particular because they go to the heart of Mr. Romney’s main campaign theme — that he can create jobs as President because he is a successful businessman and manager. But candidates who live by biography typically lose by it. See President John Kerry.
The biography that voters care about is their own, and they want to know how a candidate is going to improve their future. That means offering a larger economic narrative and vision than Mr. Romney has so far provided. It means pointing out the differences with specificity on higher taxes, government-run health care, punitive regulation, and the waste of politically-driven government spending.
The GOP-aligned Journal editoral board is implicitly agreeing that one of the leading critiques of Romney —one being made by the Obama campaign and Dems, but also by more and more media commentators — is entirely legitimate: That he’s refusing to detail his policies with any specificity to speak of on issue after issue.
This goes right to the heart of the central dynamic of this race: The Romney campaign’s gamble that he can edge his way to victory by making this camapign all about Obama, and that along the way, voters won’t notice that he isn’t meaningfully telling us what he would do if elected president. The Journal is calling this out as a non-starter. Does this represent broader GOP establishment opinion? It’s more important than all the short-term skirmishing over whether the mandate is a tax or not.
By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, The Washington Post, July 5, 2012
TNR’s Alec MacGillis comments on Kimberly Strassel’s silly Wall St. Journal article, “The President Has a List,” which likens one of the Obama campaign’s websites posting of “A brief history of Romney’s donors” to Nixon’s ‘White House Enemies List.” According to Strassel,
In the post, the Obama campaign named and shamed eight private citizens who had donated to his opponent. Describing the givers as all having “less-than-reputable records,” the post went on to make the extraordinary accusations that “quite a few” have also been “on the wrong side of the law” and profiting at “the expense of so many Americans.
In other words, “Gasp….How dare they rat out our rich donors!”
MacGillis has a little fun with Strassel’s warped reasoning, and notes,
Got that? Identifying on a campaign Web site the people who are giving to the opponent’s super PAC in six and seven-figure increments is the equivalent of Nixon’s enemies list, which, as John Dean explained it at the time, was designed to “screw” targeted individuals via “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”
Nixon’s white house enemies list was about harassing citizens who dared to publicly criticize the President. Outing fat cat donors who hide in the shadows is not quite the same thing. MacGillis explains it well, along with citing the hypocritical double standard of the GOP and their media defenders:
When you are giving at levels hundreds of times larger than the $2,500 maximum for a regular donation to a campaign, or thousands of times larger than the size checks regular people send to candidates, then you are setting yourself apart. And the only thing that the rest of the citizenry has left to right the balance even slightly is to give you some added scrutiny–to see what personal interests, biases, you name it, might be prompting you to influence the political system in such an outsized way. It’s all we’ve got, really–the Internet, the phone call, the visit to the courthouse. And yes, this applies to everyone. Why does everyone on the right know so much about George Soros? Because they were outraged at the scale of his giving in 2004 and 2006 and dug up everything they could on him. As is only right and proper. And now people are going to look into Frank VanderSloot, Harold Simmons and Paul Singer and the rest of Romney’s million-dollar club.
Fair enough. If rich donors want to use their wealth to influence elections, the notion that they should have their anonymity in doing so protected is not likely to win much sympathy outside their ranks.
By: The Democratic Strategist, Staff, May 17, 2012
It’s obviously premature to celebrate “victory” in Libya when no one knows what will happen next, or how difficult and bloody the process of state-building will be. (And Gadhafi is not yet actually gone.) But the news is good, and Obama’s strategic approach to the conflict — allowing France and NATO to take the lead to minimize the chance that America was seen as leading another Iraq-style war of aggression — seems to have been the right one. (Strategically. Not necessarily legally.) As Steve Kornacki wrote this morning, this should be the end of the “Obama is too weak to lead” talking point from the right. It should be, but … it isn’t.
Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page takes a break from excusing the criminality of the executives in charge of its parent company to deliver an official house reaction to the developments in Tripoli that starts off cautious and then just descends right back into the exact same lame arguments it’s been using for the last six months:
Having helped to midwife the rebel advances with air power, intelligence and weapons, NATO will have some influence with the rebels in the days ahead. The shame is how much faster Gadhafi might have been defeated, how many fewer people might have been killed, and how much more influence the U.S. might now have, if America had led more forcefully from the beginning.
Planning for this moment is precisely why we and many others had urged the State Department to engage with the rebels from the earliest days of the revolt, but the U.S. was slow to do so and only formally recognized the opposition Transitional National Council in mid-July. The hesitation gave Gadhafi hope that he could hold out and force a stalemate.
Libyans will determine their own future, but the U.S. has a stake in showing the world that NATO’s intervention, however belated and ill-executed, succeeded in its goals of removing a dictator, saving lives, and promoting a new Libyan government that respects its people and doesn’t sponsor global terrorism.
I’m not sure how long the editors of the Wall Street Journal think your average revolution lasts, but assuming Gadhafi’s hold on power is as weak as it appears today, I would argue — as a layman, of course — that NATO’s intervention seems neither “belated” nor “ill-executed.” (I mean, it seems well-executed, in the sense that it seems to have accomplished its goal?)
But it’s the line about America leading “more forcefully from the beginning” that the neocons and GOP hawks will continue to cling to no matter what actually happens in Libya. It’s the same argument BFF Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham used in their joint response to this weekend’s developments: “Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi, but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.”
All-out war! From day one! With the full force of American airpower! One definite way to make a civil war faster and less bloody is for a foreign country to enter it fully, right? (It tends to unite the populace, for one thing!) And conflicts are always less bloody when America drops more American bombs. That’s how we won Vietnam!
There’s no point in countering McCain and the Journal’s arguments with reason, of course, because these are not actually fact-based responses to news, they’re just rote recitations of Republican dogma: Obama weak! (Except domestically, where he is an autocrat.)
And this is the “respectable” Republican talking point. The line from the real nuts — I’m guessing something along the lines of “radical Obama allows Muslim Brotherhood to seize control in Libya” — will begin bubbling up from the sewers to talk radio and Fox News and Michele Bachmann’s campaign soon enough.
By: Alex Pareene, Salon War Room, August 22, 2011