An Example of Just How Stupid The NY Times Has Gotten

There used to be a time when the New York Times, despite always editorializing from the center-left, deserved a reputation for objectivity. Today, political hacks and propagandists have replaced objective journalists, thanks primarily to a university regime that peddles postmodern philosophy. Culturally, journalism is dead and demagoguery is ascendant. As a sort of public service announcement, I am going to review a recent piece from the Times written by one of their long-time analysts, Thomas Friedman.

You can find the original piece here; it is titled “The Biden Boom.” As a preview, the premise of the article revolves around the new “infrastructure bill” that the Biden administration is peddling.

First, a brief comment on the picture:

Doesn’t Biden look, quite literally, like a deer in headlights? No doubt this is one of the few usable pictures that the photographer could obtain, given that the man looks perpetually confused and is frequently masked (despite the fact that he received both of his vaccination shots more than a month ago).

Also, a brief comment on the title: “The Biden Boom” sounds like it could mean one of two things: a “boom” in the sense that the economy is “booming,” or a “boom” as in an explosion, a collapse, complete destruction. Friedman will proceed to argue for the first, though reality suggests the second. Humorous photos and absurd titles aside, let’s dive into the substance. Here’s Friedman’s lead-in:

“After our presidential election I wrote that what had just happened felt to me as if Lady Liberty had been crossing Fifth Avenue when out of nowhere a crazy guy driving a bus ran a red light. Thankfully, ‘Lady Liberty leapt out of the way barely in time, and she’s now sitting on the curb, her heart pounding, just glad to be alive.’ But she knows just how narrowly she escaped.”

Immediately, we are flooded with several questions. Was she wearing a mask? Did she have her vaccine passport on her? Did the defunded police come to her rescue after she dialed 911? Did she post about her experience on Facebook, only to have her post taken down because the driver was a POC, and such a thing is “hate speech”?

And hold on: isn’t Lady Liberty a statue glorifying the United States? Has nobody gotten around to pulling her down yet, in the name of “dismantling white supremacy”? If activists are raring to pull down Jefferson, Lincoln, Grant, and Washington, why not Lady Liberty herself? Are we supposed to feel bad for Lady Liberty in this scenario, or is that “racist”?

The purpose of the above questions is to underscore an important fact: liberty is on life support in the United States and it is even closer to death in New York, where a maniac and his unlikable sidekick (Cuomo and de Blasio) have made it illegal (among many other things) to get too close to other guests at a wedding, allegedly out of concern for spreading a virus whose victims are heavily concentrated in the 65 and older crowd. Bemoaning a lack of liberty in the United States and saying nothing about the above points in the article is beyond dishonest.

Back to Friedman:

“I hoped that once Joe Biden took charge my anxiety over how close we came to losing our democracy would soon fade. It hasn’t.”

Just take a Xanax, man. Is anyone else as sick and tired as I am of the faux fear and anxiety these people project, over and over again, when it is they who are the ones barreling towards dictatorship at lightning speed? Give me a break!

Friedman’s reanimated corpse of a candidate won the election and we now have to live with the fallout of having someone in the highest office in the land who cannot complete a single press conference unassisted with cheat sheets, pre-selected questions, and handpicked court “reporters” who answer on cue like kids in a kindergarten classroom. If anyone should be anxious, it is people who admire the American Founding Fathers and what they built. Our freedom — their legacy — is now in jeopardy from a rancid cultural revolution that seeks to rewrite history and the person representing the Executive Branch of our government cannot remember the most famous lines from the Declaration of Independence.

Back to Friedman:

“Just listen to Donald Trump or Senator Ron Johnson or Fox News whitewashing the ransacking of the Capitol as a Republican white boys’ picnic that just got a little rowdy.”

Did Trump really describe the Capitol event as a “white boys’ picnic”? I must have missed that press conference. While we are on the subject of Donald Trump, didn’t he fare even better this time around with non-white voters according to the exit polls?

And if I were to look at snapshots or a video of that day at the Capitol when Trump supporters “besieged” the Capitol, is it true that everyone there happened to be white? Even if was true (and it is not) it would not prove anything on its own. On the other hand, we have to ask the question because the media would have you believe that all of Trump’s supporters are white racists.

This line by Friedman is a dishonest, out-of-nowhere smear designed to make Republicans look racist.

Anyways, back to Friedman:

“Just watch Georgia’s legislature pass a measure supposedly designed to prevent the very fraud that Powell now says never happened by creating obstacles for Black voters — even making it a crime for anyone to serve water to someone waiting hours in a voting line.”

Jericho Green has a great segment on this that I recommend you watch, if you have not seen it already:

Mr. Green does a great job dissecting the idiocy behind Democrats’ complaints regarding Georgia’s new election laws, but I will comment directly on one direct implication of Friedman’s article: how does making it illegal to serve water to someone waiting hours in a voting line target Black voters? Last I checked, every member of the human race requires water and finds it refreshing: is Friedman saying that Blacks tend to be more thirsty for some reason? Are they less responsible about remembering to drink beforehand or to bring their own water? This reads like a total non sequitur if you are not a racist.

And so long as there is not a pandemic, why would people be waiting hours in line anyways? What about the other queues that we have, sans pandemic, that last hours: the DMV comes to mind. Are people being served water there? If you are going someplace where you expect to be in line for a while, you should get some food and water, use the restroom, and make arrangements; that is what adults do. This issue of not being able to serve beverages to people waiting in line is just such a phony issue, it makes me sick.

Moving on:

“Instead of the G.O.P. sitting down after the election and resolving, “Let’s complete a bridge to the votes of a diverse 21st-century America — where a G.O.P. message of immigration reform, plus pro-business, pro-law-and-order, pro-smaller-government ideas could win” — it’s decided to burn down any pieces of that bridge and compete only for a white-dominated 20th-century America.”

I need to reiterate this because apparently, Mr. Friedman does not know that Trump improved on his numbers with minority voters in the last election. Or that despite Biden getting the most votes in history (this fact is touted as totally believable — but you are still not allowed to talk about it on social media), Trump got the second most votes in history.

More broadly, tradition, law, order, and immigration reform seem pretty popular with Blacks and Latinos in this country. Consider that Blacks, as a demographic, rank higher than most other groups in terms of their belief in God. Consider that it was the Black population in California that voted for Proposition 8 against gay marriage. Cuban and Venezuelan refugees sealed the deal for Trump in Florida. Is it a surprise that most of the people who leave socialist rat holes for America appreciate limited government, low taxes, and free markets?

On we plow:

“As Michael Gerson, the former George W. Bush speechwriter and now columnist for The Washington Post, put it the other day: ‘One of the United States’ venerable, powerful political parties has been overtaken by people who make resentment against outsiders the central element of their appeal. … Elected Republicans who are not bigots are generally cowards in the face of bigotry. And that is a shocking, horrible thing.'”

So it is the Republicans that make “resentment against outsiders” a big part of their appeal? What about cancel culture, the shaming of whites for having “privilege”, and the neverending chorus that the United States is a white supremacist country, and that all whites have a share in that white supremacy? The Left is openly totalitarian and vicious towards those that it deems “outsiders” and it is the moderate Left who are the cowards today. Friedman will give us another opportunity to discuss this below.

More from Friedman:

“This Trump G.O.P. must never be allowed to occupy the White House again. It cannot be trusted to cede power. It barely did so in January, and it shows no signs of regretting its behavior. Which is why, if we want to preserve our democracy, we still have the fight of our lives on our hands.”

I have noticed that Leftists obsess over the Capitol riot and find it so detached from reality. Let’s review the facts of that day. Nobody was armed. Five people died at the event, four of which were deaths by natural causes (like heart attacks and strokes) whereas the only murder was a “rioter” who got shot by the police. This was not an insurrection, nor was the 2020 election just like any other: real changes in voting procedure were hastily implemented due to COVID that cast doubt on the results in a handful of states. And yet there are people who liken the event to 9/11.

On the other hand, countrywide riots targeting businesses and individuals where dozens were killed by real domestic terrorists (BLM) are entirely forgotten by the media. It is almost as if Democrats do not care about private property owners and taxpayers. Unsurprisingly, what they do care about is their sacred temple to “democracy” (i.e. mob rule) being vandalized by a guy in a shaman outfit.

“The key to winning that fight is for Joe Biden to succeed well enough and long enough for this antidemocratic Trump version of the G.O.P. to flame out and be replaced by a new, principled, center-right Republican Party, ready to compete for 21st -century America. (We need a healthy conservative party to keep some of the excesses of liberal Democrats in check, like cancel culture.)”

First of all, being “antidemocratic” is a moral position: democracy is evil and the extent to which we have it is the extent to which we have tyranny.

Second, “principled, center-right” anything is a contradiction in terms: it is because a person lacks clear principles that we call them the “center”. It is not like we haven’t had these types in office before: both Bushes, Reagan (to a lesser extent), Nixon, Ford, Eisenhower, etc. Despite these folks being elected, we still got the radical left. The “center-right” is not efficacious in anything but appeasement.

Third, it looks like Mr. Friedman is tepidly against cancel culture here, arguing that we need the “center-right” to push back against it: if that is true, why is he hiding this minor criticism in a parenthetical statement halfway through the article? Why doesn’t he stick his neck out and fight it? Unless of course, he is an example of the very cowardice was mentioned earlier…which he is.

“And the key to that is for Biden to deliver real stuff that enables all Americans to realize their full potential. And the key to that is to make sure that the $1.9 trillion stimulus and his coming $3 trillion green/infrastructure proposal actually deliver as promised. And the key to that is for Biden to not only channel his inner F.D.R. but also a little Ronald Reagan and some rip-roaring capitalism.”

This is hilarious. I laughed out loud when I first read this, and can’t help but grin every time I read it again. This passage starts with a fanciful premise and just gets more ridiculous with each “and” that is added, like a child describing some imaginative scenario where superheroes are fighting against villains: “We need Superman to come in and fight the bad guys with his x-ray vision. And then the Green Lantern comes with his power ring and makes a big hammer to knock them down. And then Batman comes flying in on his BatJet!”

First of all, what does the first sentence even mean? What is meant by “real stuff”? As opposed to “fake stuff”? And what potential does getting a $1,400 stimulus check unlock in people, anyways? Do the Platonic forms flood their minds when they cash it?

Second, where will the government get the $4.9 trillion? By a combination of raising taxes and printing money, which will both harm the American taxpayer, directly contradicting the idea that we are “unlocking their potential.”

Third, Biden has an “inner FDR”? What has been on display this whole time then, because he projects a pretty strong outer FDR also. I guess I see a similar temperament between Biden and FDR in his fourth term after FDR had already died; both could star in a remake of Weekend at Bernie’s.

Finally, how is one to channel one’s “inner statism” to produce “rip-roaring capitalism”? This is a total contradiction: socialism does not breed capitalism any more than capitalism breeds socialism. This is one of the most confused passages in the whole article (and that is a tough category!)

“What will make a sustainable difference, though, is whether the Biden stimulus doesn’t just rescue the poor but also propels the private sector to start new companies and create more good jobs that improve productivity and sustainably boost living standards, so that we’re not just redividing the pie, but rather growing the pie.”

Friedman seems to think that taxing businesses encourages their growth! He thinks that we “rescue the poor” by taxing businesses and the wealthy in order to give out free goodies when what really saves the poor is lower prices and higher productivity brought about by investment in capital goods. The idea that wealth redistribution helps the poor is pure ignorance of economics, though one does not need to be an economist to know the principle that if you want something, you should not tax it.

“Despite concerns that the $1.9 trillion could drive up interest rates to levels that tank the stock market and crimp government borrowing and discretionary spending down the road, there are lots of signs that we could be headed for just such an explosion in entrepreneurship.”

So the thing that people say is a concern down the road (interest rates and a tanking stock market) will be neatly addressed, according to Friedman, by something that will happen in the face of causes to the contrary: that is, we can fix it with more entrepreneurship, despite the fact that we are raising taxes on business.

“Consider this report from The Wall Street Journal on Friday: ‘After a year of economic shutdowns and other changes brought on by Covid-19, rents for Manhattan storefronts, apartments and work spaces have been marked down to their lowest prices in years. That is already bringing in new small businesses and residents, and has the potential to change the character of the city’s most-exclusive borough. … New York state as a whole saw its highest number of new businesses launched last year since 2007.'”

What about restrictions on occupancy, preventing these businesses from earning a profit? What about the threat of more lockdowns if there is another surge of the Coronavirus? What about the $7 billion tax bill that NY is threatening to pass? What about the fact that people are forced to wear masks and show papers proving that they have been vaccinated? Won’t all of these things disincentivize investment and the emergence of new businesses? Why would anyone want to deal with all of this nonsense when they could move elsewhere and do the same thing far cheaper and far freer? Friedman’s answer: cheap real estate! Talk about dropping context!

“If we do this right, Biden’s stimulus will fuel an already restructuring economy and supercharge it. With so much cheap money available, so much cheap access to high-powered computing, so many new services being digitized and so many new problems to solve, we have all the ingredients for a burst of innovation, start-ups and creative destruction.”

If “cheap money” can “supercharge” an economy, why are we printing just shy of $5 trillion? Why be so stingy? Why not print $100 trillion? or $10000000000 trillion? That should, by Friedman’s logic, result in super-productivity. Think of all the digitized services! What could go wrong?

“What would Trump do if he presided over such a boom? HE’D PUT HIS NAME ON IT. That’s what Biden should do. If it comes, call it the ‘Biden Boom’ — and celebrate entrepreneurs, capitalists, job creators, farmers and all those who work with their hands. Make clear that they all have a home in the Democratic Party, not just left-wing educated elites. That’s how you win the midterms.”

To win the midterms, you convince productive people that they have a home in a party that is obsessed with race, that hates capitalism, that wants to snuff out the energy industry, that wants to defund the police? Here is the thing, Thomas Friedman: if Trump did things that would actually result in more productivity by removing government barriers, he would deserve to put his name on it in the sense that he made it possible, though he would not be able to take the credit for the individual achievements of the businesspeople (and I do not think he would).

You can’t just do stuff and then put your name on whatever happens next: there needs to be a causal connection between the two. That is, if Biden’s plan results in enormous deficit spending and inflation, we won’t feel the full effects of it for several months. If in the meantime, we emerge from the pandemic with a stronger economy and businesses reopen, that will have no causal relationship to his idiotic spending. In fact, the economy will experience a resurgence in spite of the spending, and only for a short time, because you cannot evade reality forever.

“Biden also needs to maximize his green aspirations. It’s not just about unleashing spending. It also about unleashing capitalism. The key to a green revolution is scale. You need a whole lot of everything — wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, batteries, efficient materials. And the only way to get that kind of scale is by leveraging the market — by getting all kinds of public-private partnerships going that reduce carbon and grow profits.”

Another passage with so much to say. Again, we get a contradiction: government spending does not unleash capitalism, it destroys capitalism. And a “green revolution” is not possible in our context. Wind, solar, and hydro are not sufficient to meet our energy needs. Nuclear is opposed by the environmentalists. Batteries store energy but are themselves not a creator of energy. “Efficient materials” is just a meaningless filler phrase in this sentence; what materials? For what purpose?

Interestingly, Friedman is here arguing that we need the market to produce green energy when most of the environmentalists say that the market cannot produce it and only the government can. Of course, both are foolish but at least his view is partly based on reality. Then again, he wipes out that charitable interpretation in the latter half of the same sentence: in our context, it is a contradiction to “reduce carbon” and “grow profits,” so maybe he is just reciting platitudes. 

“‘Then, once these green technologies are affordable’, said Harvey, ‘you stimulate the private sector to make them steadily cheaper and more efficient by having the government set improved performance standards every year’ — like California recently did, requiring the end of internal combustion engines in cars by 2035, and the way Obama did in 2012, when he required U.S. automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks by 2025. That is how you get scale, Harvey added: ‘You enable the private sector to deliver public goods” — for a profit. The government makes new technologies more cost effective, and the private sector, spurred by ever-stronger standards, “makes them ubiquitous.'”

This is the old canard that the government fosters progress by legislating standards. What is really happening here is that the government is taking credit for trends that were already occurring prior to legislation. For instance, wages were already rising, prior to the passage of minimum wage legislation was passed. Child labor was already declining, prior to the passage of child labor laws. Workplace-related accidents were already declining, prior to OSHA, and so on and so forth.

“That’s just smart capitalism. And it’s the surest way to ensure the success of Biden’s two gigantic spending bills and deal a knockout blow to this pathetic dumpster fire called the Trump G.O.P. That would be a gift to both liberals and principled conservatives — and to Lady Liberty.”

This last passage is priceless — witness the spectacle of a “moderate” explaining to us that “smart capitalism” amounts to enormous government spending and the imposition of draconian taxation. If I have to say more about that here, I have not done my job in the previous passages.

Let’s wrap this up with a takeaway. The theme of the article is clearly: “The Biden Administration needs to intervene heavily in the economy in order to repair the damage wrought by the Trump Administration, which was culturally and economically destructive.” All of the author’s proposed “solutions” rest on economic fallacies and he smugly assumes that democracy is good and the Republicans are racist. As bad as this article is, there is something worse: those that read and buy into this garbage.

Author: Roberto Guzman

I support individual rights, capitalism, reason, and egoism.

2 thoughts on “An Example of Just How Stupid The NY Times Has Gotten”

  1. You can do a lot better. In fact, you have done better in the past. In fact, this piece isn’t even completely bad. In a couple of points, I do in fact agree with you. But, come on.

    I won’t get into all the straw men you burn on the content. And I don’t blame you for your partisan blindness. I guess that’s what the US just is now.

    But don’t you think it’s a bit cheap to present an opinion piece by a notoriously leftist author as evidence the NYT has fallen completely to the left?

    If you can even call this “leftist”. Always alludes me from a European perspective.

  2. Thanks for the comment; I have a few things to say about it, though.

    One issue is that you are stating your conclusion but providing no details or evidence for it in this comment. You say I have done better: when? Which past pieces were better and why were they better? You say that you agree with some of my points: which ones? You say that I burn straw men: which ones? What straw men did you find in the piece? You say I am suffering from “partisan blindness”: can you cite that? What am I blind to? I am more interested in objective criticism of the article and its arguments, so the details matter a great deal to me more than the conclusion.

    As far as the conclusion goes, I do not think you can generalize about the entire paper on the basis of one article. However, as someone who has observed the Times for a while, I have reached this conclusion and cite this as one example. Despite the lead-in sentences, the theme of my piece is Friedman’s piece, not the Times itself. I think you cannot come to an objective conclusion about the Times, if you have not read it yourself, on the basis of just my article.

    Friedman is not a good example of a far-leftist; I think he is more of a moderate. However, I think the left has become more radical and more explicitly totalitarian so that the moderates have been dragged further to the left than they otherwise would be. He has also been at the New York Times for over a decade and is one of its most well-respected commentators. As such, I would expect his pieces to reflect the views of many at the Times’ editorial board and probably most of their readership, as well.

    A “meta-issue” to consider when evaluating a piece: is it the case that you have to agree with something in order for it to be a good piece? Can a piece be well-written or interesting and still be at odds with what you believe? I think so. What I was pointing out was that despite my differences with Friedman’s views, I think his piece is incoherent, illogical, and lazy.

    Finally, some irony: you say, in essence, that I am over-generalizing with my critique of the New York Times by reference to a single article, yet you appear in your comment to over-generalize the state of the US by a single blog post by an American author. For that it is worth I think many people in the US have become more tribal, collectivistic, statist, authoritarian (in other words, more like Europe), so your conclusion here may be true even if I think I am not the best example of it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: