Thursday, June 2, 2011

NYT Slow on the Censorship Uptake

The comments I submit to The New York Times get dumped or buried much of the time, but today I reached a milestone.  I had a comment (#12) get published under the "Playing With Matches on the Debt" editorial at about 1:30 a.m. today, got over 100 readers' recommendations with a ranking of fourth or fifth in popularity -- but when I went back to check it some twelve hours later, the comment was replaced with the "This comment has been removed" message.  No more comment!  No more readers' recommendations!  No more turkey soup, turkey hash, turkey sandwiches.  The Times Bumpus Hound moderators done struck!

So I am reprinting it here, because I can, dammit!

And the silence from The White House is deafening.  The debt ceiling "crisis" is a wholly manufactured theatrical trick to give both parties cover as they fail to conduct the business of the American people.  On a daily basis we get TV soundbites of these politicians crossing the street, meeting behind closed doors, and then somberly reappearing before the microphones with their usual message: "Everything is on the table."

For all we know, these hacks are having a game of pinochle as the world waits with baited breath.  It will play out as it always does:  a new Crisis Zero Hour will approach, President Obama will pretend-capitulate to the Republicans and call it a victory, and the slow and steady dismantling of the New Deal will continue its preordained course.

And the corporate media are playing along, deflecting our attention with Sarah's mystery bus tour and Anthony's Weiner, while unemployment reaches critical mass and both Democrats and Republicans do the bidding of their Wall Street masters.  We know it, they know we know it, and they do it anyway.  One of these days, their cynicism and corruption will backfire on them.... one of these days, right in the kisser! 

Okay, on second thought, I am really surprised this got past the censors at all.  Anyway, thanks to all the readers who recommended it.  I shall never forget.

32 comments:

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I'm so glad you re-posted it for us, Karen. You speak the truth! I'm aghast at all that's happening and the corporate media's collusion.

Anonymous said...

Every day I play a little game while reading the comments at nytimes.com. It's called "Is this Karen or Marie?" After a sentence or two, I just know the truth jumping off my screen slapping me and everyone else in the face has got to be coming from you or Ms. Burns. I usually guess right (You and I seem to share a similar political sensibility: a little less optimistic than Marie but not quite the doom & gloom of the great Chris Hedges at truthdig.com.), but if I want to keep playing, I guess I'll have to read the comments a little earlier before they unceremoniously remove yours. Then again, I can always just come here and read your fine blog. Keep fighting the good fight, Karen!

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks to both the above commenters. The media colludes rather than seeks truth, because it's all about the access to the power-brokers. No favorable coverage, no interview, no job. That is the beauty of blogging. Nobody can fire you.

jjg08 said...

Hey Ms. Garcia, I like your comments for the most part. I am missing most of them now days because I refuse to pay for the E-NYT. (like a birdie; cheap, cheap, cheap) Anyways the Constant Weader posts them frequently and I read them there. Let's face it; The Grey Lady only prints what fits her figure and your comments expose her "unmentionables". Write on.

DreamsAmelia said...

Alas- a few days away from media and the right marches along faster than ever...the reason Weiner and the Tragic Bus (great blog posts Karen!) are in the news is because there is going to be a hopefully huge protest this Saturday at the Jefferson Memorial in response the horrifically brutal body slam and arrests of dancers last Saturday.

Watch the original:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jUU3yCy3uI

The local (D.C.) FOX news coverage on t.v.:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UyiaR1PDhQ&feature=related

And the background (District Judge case) and aftermath with next steps here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-dpr-xnqeo&feature=related

The comments today about Jill taking over for Bill as executive editor seem intentionally culled to slant to readership towards the right, posting all the comments that denigrate "libruls" but never letting us see all the comments that decry how rightward the Times tilts...
wonder how this change will bode for our reader comments...
Very few of the public understands how artfully the reader comment sections are sculpted by the Times. They are crafted to manipulate opinion every bit as much as by the material they choose to call "news." Only when you post enough and see and hear how much your and others aren't making the cut do you realize how profound this sculpting.

John in Lafayette said...

The powers that be at the Times say they'll publish the comments as long as they are on topic and not abusive. I don't understand what their criteria are for either topicality or abusiveness. I've had relatively tame submissions cut while at the same time some of my more caustic comments have not only gotten through, but have been highlighted.

The only thing I can think of in this case is they took special offense to your comment on the corporate media. Of course if they weren't guilty as charged there would have been nothing to be offended about. What's that old saying about oxen being gored?

Keep posting your opinions there, Karen. They're not only a valuable counterpoint, they lead people to this blog (as they did for me).

Jay - Ottawa said...

I did not get to the Times in time to read AND recommend your comment, so I'll do it now. I would also like to subscribe to the first two comments (all I see at the moment) by Dr McCoy and Anon.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks for all the support, thanks to Marie for linking this post from RealityChex too.
Several thoughts about Times comments and moderation: (sorry to be bullet-pointy like Winning Progressive):

1. Comments are rarely if ever published in the order submitted. You can post within minutes of the article appearing and your submission will sit in the bin for as many as 12-16 hours before publication. Conversely, you can post a submission hours after comments have been opened, and find yourself number one on the list.

2. There is often no reason for rejecting a comment, nor do they feel obligated to give one.

3. There have recently been two instances where comments of "regulars" have been highlighted, then inexplicably un-highlighted after receiving many recommendations.

4. There was a recent comment published which was a personal attack on Marie Burns, as well as an attack in general against a certain ethnic group. Several of us both "flagged" it as abusive and posted counter-arguments, wrote to the publisher, etc. None of our concerns was answered by The Times, and the comment was never removed.

5. Times moderators periodically inflict black-outs on regular commenters. This amounts to having virtually all comments rejected for about five-seven straight days, again without reason or explanation. This practice seems to have been diminishing within the last few months, possibly because of complaints.

6. The standards for news and op-eds are different. News-side moderators generally get the comments up quickly and with little censorship. Op-ed moderators are a different breed, maybe because they work a graveyard shift!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why my comment doesn't appear here. I tried posting as Anonymous and it always came back asking me to Post Comment. I did not do a Preview...

Anyway, I was shocked when I clicked on the Comments for that editorial, and unbidden was directed to the Highlights. And OMG, what a bunch of ignorant right-wing talking points they are. None gets more than 20 recommendations, but they are truly some incredibly stupid comments.

I only go to the NYT through a link, usually from Marie Burns. Thanks, Marie. I'm an old lady living in Wisconsin who is appalled at what the Republicans are doing now that they have the bit between their teeth. I look forward to voting in the recall election against Kapanke. Fortunately, I do have a photo ID....

Anonymous said...

There we go... I finally figured it out. Preview and then type in the word.

And I do know that I am commenting on Karen's blog, and not Marie's, so a huge thanks to Karen too.

VLT said...

I could be wrong on this but the first thing that pops into my mind when I can't find a favourite commenter in the Reader Comment Section is that some of the commenters (like Karen, Marie and Kate) have a bigger following than the columnists. I also think any kind of criticism of the mainstream media makes the columnists and the Times in general, look bad to their readers. The NYT would like all of us to believe that their reporting is fair, well-researched and leaning a little to the left. They don't want readers realising how they are really - through subtle writing, as has been discussed in the blog comments lately - favouring the right.

It is like the Democratic Party being representative of the Left when in reality they are corporate-right-lite.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I always look for your comments, and did in fact manage to read the 'soon to be disappeared' comment #12.
As usual, witty and to the point. Keep up the good work. Your wise words give me hope that all is not lost for the good ol' US of A!
Do you think the appointment of Jill Abramson will make any difference to the sad slippage of the NYT?

Janet Camp said...

It is probably the 's on the Anthony that got you censored--which somebody may not have noticed initially, but I laughed right out loud--poor Mr. Weiner!

You would think they would send a blurb to the poster when they reject a comment, with the offending word or phrase highlighted.

I always laugh when anyone says the NYT is "liberal". Puuleeeezzzz! They are so mainstream--but I guess that assessment is in the eye of the beholder and depends where one is on the political spectrum. I only read it for the comments, which are often better than the article--especially in the case of Ms. Dowd, who tries ever so hard so be ever so artsy-fartsy.

I'm just waiting to read that Marie Burns is on some FBI watch list for linking to all the op-eds and comments worth reading--and now she's even got her own commentary going! Between these two (Karen and Marie) and a few other favorites, who needs the Times?

Keep it up ladies and you too, VLT!

4Runner said...

I was a frequent contributor to the NYT blog, Laugh Lines, now discontinued. Never could figure out what the hell was acceptable to them, but their admonition to"keep it clean" seemed quaintly old-fashioned. I recall a post I submitted in 2008, "Sarah Palin never met a Klondike she didn't like", which was published, then pulled.

Anyway, keep up your superb commentary, we all love you!!

Marina said...

Now that Jill Abramson is taking over the helm, I'm sure everything will be just so, so much better...Here's my comment: I"m worried. Here's a quote from the Public Editor column on September 26, 2009, concerning the allegedly weak Times reporting on Acorn and the James O'Keefe scandal: "Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, agreed with me that the paper was “slow off the mark,” and blamed “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.” She and Bill Keller, the executive editor, said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies." I also seem to recall that Abramson is a close personal friend of Alessandra Stanley, an NYT entertainment writer who is overtly right-wing, and who, along with Matt Bai, is frequently given space in the news section for "analysis." Replacing Rich and Herbert with Keller and Bruni just makes me despair... I appreciate your blog more and more...

Anonymous said...

Post this link everywhere until the country wakes up:

http://www.onequestionforamerica.com/

Anonymous said...

just a possibility for consideration.... some readers may have "flagged" it due to the apostrophe s. I'm pretty sure there are more than a couple of readers who would be glad to flag a comment or two from Karen or Marie. Yes, it's still annoying but, as you suggested, you were surprised it got through the censors. A few objections may have given the censors a second review.
Ned

Anonymous said...

Another strange occurence with a comment of mine not being posted in a timely fashion.
I'm a long time tennis fan, and was interested in an article in yesterday's NYT concerning the women's game.
I posted a comment early in the morning, about 5am. Usually, comments for a sports article appear quickly, as there aren't many of them. So, when my comment hadn't been posted 6 hours later, I posted another. And, when this comment wasn't posted either by 7:45pm, I posted a third, asking why my previous comments hadn't been posted.
Within minutes both my previous comments were posted!
I don't know what is happening with the moderators at the NYT. Perhaps, in an economy drive, there's only one of them!

Anonymous said...

Karen,

As I often do, I read your comment on Dr. Krugman's column in today's NY Times.

You touted "a coalition of public interest groups called the American Majority Project". I checked out their website and it looks to me like a right-wing organization, not a nonpartisan group and certainly not a progressive one.

Please take a closer look at their website, americanmajority.org - they may not be what you think.

Anonymous said...

I read your comment in the NYT and didn't think it was beyond the pale. So that you don't think it's just the NYT picking on the Liberals they have removed several of mine too! They seem to rotate the reviewers and some of the reviewers have their personal dislikes. Just keep posting it like you see it.

Richard

Karen Garcia said...

Hi Anonymous,
Unfortunately The American Majority Project, which I wrote about, has a similar sounding name to the conservative group you reference. However, the website of the progressive group is http://www.ourfuture.org/americanmajority, if you care to check them out. I will be writing more about efforts to hold the press accountable soon. Thanks.

Thom said...

Karen, I came to your blog some months ago by way of reading your always-thoughtful comments on the NYT site. Sardonicky has become a daily go-to site for me, and I am always thrilled when there is a new entry.

As for the NYT and their moving-target of a comments policy, I can only say this: Fuck 'em if they can't take the truth. Pardon my French, but I assume you speak French.

Keep up the good work. Lots of us out here love to read what you have to say.

Janet Camp said...

To all the "anonymous" posters here, I'd like to point out that the two most popular NYT commenters use their REAL NAMES. What are people afraid of? I think the FBI has had a file on me since about 1970, for marching against the Viet Nam war, so I really do not care what I say here, although I do try to be civil and use my higher thinking ability--not just my brain stem.

Does anybody know if Bob Herbert has published since leaving the Times?

Mike Vogel (mivogo) said...

The moderation of the Times comments is baffling.
I wrote what I believed was a thoughtful comment this week in response to David Brooks that was never posted. Your comment was, as usual, edgy and thought-provoking, but certainly not "abusive"--but I guess if you offend the moderator's sensibilities, that's an "abuse."

Isn't the media supposed to "afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted", or is that now considered an old-fashioned notion?

Mike Vogel (mivogo).

Anonymous said...

WTF? off topic? Abbusive? I think not.
I'll go with the poster who wonders if the NYT is concerned that commenters have more of a following than the columnists. How many of us skim the op eds and give real attention to the comments?

Anonymous said...

Back in the day when cities were states, and capture was by siege, a commander who didn't rape and pillage his conquest could avoid long sieges once his ways were known. The current republican mob is not so enlightened. I believe.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Yes, Janet, I know what you mean.

A friend told me that employers “google” potential hires so I was curious and checked out my own name. Many of my comments to the Times and a few I have left on various political blog sites popped up. Any employer wanting to hire me is going to know of my political leanings (and recognise my thirst for justice – she optimistically says) and I have to assume the FBI is doing the same thing. Sometimes I have done VLT here, simply because I know the regulars know me on this particular blog site, but overall, I feel have to be true to beliefs and stand by my own words. Otherwise, it is like going to a friend’s party incognito.

While it doesn't happen here, due to Karen's moderation, I also believe anonymity gives people the "courage" to leave snide, off-the-cuff remarks without any repercussions. I am sure there have been many sociological research papers written on the construct of “Anonymity on the Internet.” While it certainly protects people in third world countries under hostile regimes, anonymity seems out of place in a country where we tout the Internet as a medium for Free Speech.

Karen Garcia said...

Here is an interesting article on Jill Abramson from The Nation:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/161119/jill-abramson-feminist-journalist

Sorry that links don't work in comments, but not too difficult to type in manually, or just Google Abramson Nation. I am impressed she actually took time off to work on the digital edition, and that includes Reader Comments. Time will tell, but I do have hope.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Great article! Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Karen. It would be really great - and possibly change the political topography if a major newspaper like the Times actually actively encouraged good investigative journalism. I hope that "fearless" really does describe Jill Abramson and will come to define her tenure. The mainstream media has been towing the "company line" for too many years - much to the detriment of our democracy.

Anonymous said...

With reference to VLT's comment about posting anonymously.
I would like to use my name, Mac Gordon, when I post here. But, I can't find a way of doing that, given my lack of an URL.
Am I missing something?

Karen Garcia said...

To Mac,
If the only way you can post is under the anonymous choice, just sign your name at the end of your comment. Thanks!

PS -- For those of you not able to use your real names for whatever reason, any handle will do, so we can tell the anonymati apart.

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

MacGordon

Under select profile you go to name/URL. A box will pop up and you have the option of typing in your name in one slot and your URL in another. Type in your name - you don't need to type in a URL. When your comment is submitted and published your name will come up in blue along with the word "said" and . . .

As Karen make clear, this is just my little soap box and doesn't refect the opinions of anyone else who writes in.