Friday, May 17, 2024

Things continue to heat up

This is a fairly minor turn in the ongoing New York Times saga, but it's still interesting as an indicator of just how tired of the paper of record many serious journalists have become.

Here's the tweet started it.

Astead W. Herndon is a national NYT politics reporter who has been remarkably loyal to the narrative for a long time now.

Notice what Herndon did there. He took one data source and tried to pass it off as two. The claim that voters say that age is the biggest issue is based solely on polls. Even back on February 8th, when we had actual primaries and elections, we saw no indication of that whatsoever. For the record, I'm sure he actually believes the narrative. Unfortunately, when you're talking about a dysfunctional culture, believing can be worse than lying.

But getting back to the May 14th tweet. In and of itself, a silly but hardly unexpected statement. It combines adherence to the paper's established narrative (particularly with respect to MSNBC) with the absolute conviction that the speaker is correct and that anyone who disagrees is either stupid or blinded by ideology.

What was surprising was just how out of f*cks the normally easy-going Josh Marshall and James Fallows were. I'm going to be a bit redundant here and print out the texts of the tweets just so everything will be properly displayed.

Here's Fallows:

Post below is from NYT politics reporter. Here's how "clearing the field" actually works. 

1) Both parties full of people who think they should be prez. 

2) *As soon* as any of them thinks it would pay off for them, or the party, to run against an incumbent, they do so. See: 1968 D, 1976 R, 1980 D, 1992 R. 

3) For 2024, No Dem (ex Phillips) thought this made sense. See: Newsom, Whitmer, anyone else. 

4) When an incumbent gets a serious primary challenge, THAT PARTY LOSES. See: 1968 D, 1976 R, 1980 D, 1992 R. Not proof, but a pattern. 

5) Only recent incumbent to lose *without* a serious primary challenge: Trump in 2020. 

6) Dem candidates, and Dem voters, were ones who "cleared" this field.

And Marshall:

I was chatting with a timeser recently abt some of my criticisms of the paper. And this person made some very good/fair points. But there are ears melting and being broken down to subatomic particles on other planets by the intensity of this “YOU DIDNT TAKE MY ADVICE TO HEART” primal scream. This is a straight news reporter. How can you hope to cover a race with any degree of perspective when you’re this gunned up about it? 

Also Dems cleared the field? What? You don’t clear the field for the incumbent president. That’s a deeply silly thing to say. He’s the incumbent president. There’s no field. The question is whether someone takes the inherently publicly self destructive decision to challenge the incumbent which also almost always makes it even harder for the party to win the election. Those are the reasons it almost never happens. 

How do you say something like this? How can you play football if you don’t know the ball isn’t round? 

These are really elementary things.

And of the related subject of the reaction to Joseph Kahn's dickish interview.

Having read the interview, I suspect that the person looking for the safe space was Kahn.

Lots more on this next week.

1 comment:

  1. Jay Rosen? Unghhhh...
    I know why everyone is rehashing Hur's findings from February (drama around release of transcript), but I am nevertheless very tired of hearing about it.
    Where is Professor Andrew Gelman?! I wish he would share some of his sage political commentary, here or anywhere. I *am* a fan!