the Times

July 13, 2011

When Rupert Murdoch acquired The Times of London and The Sunday Times in 1981, he also acquired a board of “independent national directors”-among them, the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper. Two years later, by way of a shady German tabloid, The Sunday Times bought the rights to a series of newly discovered journals supposedly written by Adolf Hitler. Some of us thought this didn’t so much just smell fishy as reek, coming as it did after a long line of similar forgeries.

The Libelous Truth
July 13, 2011

Just Words: Lillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy, and the Failure of Public Conversation in America By Alan Ackerman (Yale University Press, 361 pp., $35) Mary McCarthy preferred the old-fashioned way. You might not know this from her three divorces and the anatomical precision of her bedroom scenes, but she had a strong streak of cultural conservatism. She rejected feminism and lamented the disappearance of Latin from the schoolhouse. The modern fascination with technology annoyed her.

Why the News of the World Shutdown Could Be a Bad Thing
July 07, 2011

[Guest post by Alex Klein] Rupert Murdoch just drove the final nail into his News of the World coffin, shoving it unceremoniously out to sea like a recently deceased Al Qaeda boss. Its editor Rebekah Brooks gets to keep her post as chief executive of all News International while its reporters mill around outside of the building, levying vague threats. It’s fair to say good riddance, and rejoice that a newspaper that hacked 4,000 and bribed £100,000 will soon be moldering in the trash heap. But the fall of News of the World isn’t all good news.

Living Specimen Of Liberal Caricature Found
June 28, 2011

Call me naive, but I have never before seen the kind of unvarnished East Coast snobbery displayed by New York Times media reporter David Carr here: That's actually repugnant. I don't actually think the sentiment reflects the general view of the Times, but I do think the Times deserves to be held accountable. If the newspaper lets reporter pop off on a talk show, then his opinions are going to represent the Times.

Canada and Its Tar Sands: What the Country Can Learn From Brazil About Protecting the Environment
June 27, 2011

In 1986, the then-editor of The New Republic, Michael Kinsley, famously asked whether anyone could find a headline more boring than “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” which had recently appeared on the Times op-ed page. The jibe was really a backhanded compliment, of course—Canada’s virtue was so automatic it could just be assumed. It was big news in Canada when, in 2008, the country slipped from the top-ten list of the world’s most peaceful countries (all the way to eleventh). By this year, it was back in eighth, 74 places above the U.S. and, when liberals in the U.S.

‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’: Will Our Gross Fascination Ever End?
June 15, 2011

Has any show in the history of Broadway been as written-about as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark? We at TNR have not abstained, yet our commentary was but a drop in the sea of coverage that the disastrous musical has occasioned. In the past week, in The New York Times alone, there were five articles focusing almost exclusively on the subject; a complete search reveals over two-hundred hits from the Times.

Bad Job Market: Why the Media Is Always Wrong About the Value of a College Degree
June 09, 2011

Sally Cameron thought she had done everything right. After studying French and Arabic at a tony liberal arts college, she knew that graduate school would help her career chances. But when she hit the job market, her Ivy League management degree didn’t seem to matter. The worst recession in decades had pushed the unemployment rate to nearly 10 percent and good jobs were scarce. Sally paid the rent by tending bar and filled her time with volunteer work. Meanwhile, experts and government officials warned that the days ahead would be grim.

Sarah Palin: She’s Just Like Us!
June 03, 2011

Despite the fact that she no longer holds office, has not clarified her political intentions, and seems intent, mainly, on making money, Sarah Palin coverage show no signs of letting up. Her recently launched bus tour—for the all-important purpose, as she has stated, of inviting “more people to be interested in all that is good about America”—is no exception. As we parse the constant updates from Palin’s not-a-presidential campaign, let’s take a look at previously issued breaking news on our favorite obsession. Sarah Palin rides a bike.

The New York Times is a Dirty, Dirty Paper
May 30, 2011

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] In his seemingly endless quest to write about the most trivial and minor subjects imaginable, The New York Times' "public editor," Arthur Brisbane, penned a column yesterday on filth. According to Brisbane, 'The culture is headed for the curb, and The New York Times is on the story." What Brisbane means is that society is going to the dogs, and his beloved newspaper is following along. Now, you might say to yourself that of all the problems that ail this fine newspaper, a preponderance of sex-drenched, vulgar reporting is not near the top of the list.

Welcome to the Poorhouse
May 18, 2011

Jerry and Helen Peterson are a married couple in East Orange, New Jersey, earning $252,000 per year. Jerry, a CPA, and Helen, a public relations executive, understand the need to close the deficit, but don't understand why their taxes have to go up. “I don’t feel rich,” says Jerry, as Helen frowns the worried frown of a woman who has been singled out by the Obama administration for brutal economic reprisal of the sort Stalin imposed upon prosperous peasants.  Jerry and Helen are not real people.