Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Mixed Blessing For Times Readers

Hugh Hewitt on a New York Times article that couldn't back up its headline.


MK said...

Hewitt’s column started off promisingly as he examined who was quoted by name in article, but ended up in Sullivan-bait SillyLand when he wrote about Obama and the supposed motives of The New York Times. Sigh. Time and again I read items written by conservatives where it seems to me that they hurt themselves and sometimes those for whom they are advocating, by association. When I got to the end of Hewitt’s article, I cringed for the country Hewitt was discussing. I don't know that Hewitt's column did it or his own country (America) or his party any favors.

That the New York Times’ article was poorly constructed doesn’t lead to Hewitt’s conclusion that the “left-wing Times has helpfully launched a wholly misleading meme.” (Why, oh why, do columnists sometimes pick apart an article as not proving what it purports to, only to fall into EXACTLY that trap of unsupported assertions in their own wrap up?) Here and in some of its other articles, I actually think the newspaper showed respect for the Tea Party in its effort to deconstruct it and look for nuance. That’s certainly better than than laughingly dismissing it as nothing but traditional rightwingers, same old same old. You know, the right that sometimes comes across on the airwaves and in punditry as people running around and squeaking “eek, aaack, we R doomed, panic city, ZOMG beat on the drums of fear,” no matter what the domestic or foreign policy issue. There’s potentially more to conservatism and perhaps even to some elements of the Tea Party than that. This is not the first time the NYT has tried to determine what it is. Hewitt would have done better to consider that. But, of course, that requires examining how one's arguments come across to a broad community. Much tougher than blaming "the media!"

Fr. John said...

Well said, MK. I posted Hugh's piece because I'd felt the article was weak and had meant to write about it myself. The reporter invited skepticism by speculating about incoming tea party-affiliated members instead of taking an extra day and calling a dozen of them and asking what they thought about the Middle East.