"The fourth quarter belongs to us" says NYT Managing Editor Howell Raines, declaring that people like him "who work for fair-minded publications have been too passive in pointing out the agendas" of their critics. Reactions:
1. Does he think he lost the first three quarters? Did I miss the halftime pep talk?
2. Why lash out? Is he in trouble? Luskin thinks so. I'm not so sure. True, the Augusta Spike was humiliating for both Raines and the Times. But Raines' statements are in line with equally self-righteous, ad hominem, blindered declarations of his own saintly objectivity he's made over the years -- most notably when he attacked James Fallows and The Washington Monthly's Charles Peters in the NYT for what Raines said was their argument that reporters should "see themselves as civic stenographers dedicated to promoting worthy policies." Back then, Raines also claimed that he, by contrast, he was part of a "tradition that calls on reporters to forwswear partisan advocacy ... to be agnostic as to public policy outcomes ...."
3. Did Raines have no "agenda" when he was in charge of his paper's editorial page? Was he "agnostic as to public policy outcomes"? That would have made for pretty dull editorials, and Raines' page wasn't dull. The whole point of an editorial page is to have an agenda! Did Raines then turn off his agenda, and turn on his agnosticism, when he got promoted? Where is that switch?
4. Something's getting to him! 12:02 A.M.
How did The Note miss this quote?
"The country is clearly ambivalent about Iraq. Kerry has been exactly where the country is."
Well, he's our leader then! ... 3:20 P.M.
How is the NYT like CBS? Who said the New York Times, isn't advertising package tours to the Masters! ... The Times has righteously called on various institutions (CBS, Tiger Woods) to "choose not to support" -- i.e. boycott -- the tournament and the all-male golf club that runs it. But that doesn't mean the paper isn't above making a few bucks letting SportsTravel.com sell "Masters Golf Packages" (including "Tickets, Hotel, and Private Houses") on the Times Web site. Does Gerald Boyd know about this? ... In the NYT's editorial world view, isn't that a bit like running ads for Woolworth's Greensboro, N.C. lunch counters in January, 1960 (or the Montgomery Area Transit System in early 1956)?... 11:08 A.M.
Blogs advance the story, I: Antic Muse would appear to have a scooplet in the Bloomberg L.P. vs. NYU flap. ... 10:52 A.M.
Ginger-greasers: If you're sympathetic to the "nothing new to buy" explanation for our current economic doldrums, it's not crazy to think of this as a possible solution, rather than simply a case of hypocritical corporate welfare-seeking. ... 2:18 A.M.
Is Slate's Robert Wright a Buddhist? ... 2:02 A.M.
Send Less Chuck Berry? Was it worth reading 100 inches of Bernard Weinraub's prose just so I could attack the NYT's ongoing front page Remedial Rock and Roll for Menopausal Yuppies series? No! Too high a price to pay for a cheap blog item! ... But I read it anyway. To my horror, I enjoyed it. After reading Weinraub on Hollywood, I can't trust him as my musical guide -- for example, is it true that in the 40s Berry "discovered that the harmony of many popular songs was derived from the chords of George Gershwin's 'I Got Rhythm,' and were known as songs with rhythm changes"? Seems oddly oversimplified. But Weinraub makes it clear that Berry's rock and roll -- i.e., rock and roll -- was multiracial at its inception, with clear white (country and western, "hillbilly") as well as black (Muddy Waters, Nat King Cole) influences. Much more complicated than a simple case of the white man copping the black man's music. ... Was the beat of Berry's first single really "derived from Bill Haley and the Comets"? I'd always just assumed the borrowing went the other way. ... Bonus Bo-Skipper: Weinraub's first profile, of Bo Diddley, was drearier and more PC. If you saw Diddley open for The Clash in 1979, you don't think it's a mystery why "he has never enjoyed quite the success and recognition" of Chuck Berry or Little Richard." Diddley's set was fifteen seconds of excitement, and then an arrogant, crushingly tedious jam for half an hour. But even the Diddley profile had tidbits: Diddley inventing his famous beat after listening to a song by Gene Autry; Diddley these days spending his time listening "mostly to classical music" and repairing "hearses and vintage cars." ... 1:26 A.M.