Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some "Times" Facts Just Get In The Way

These are the perfect, crisp summer days; the ones we remember occurring often in our youth, with a slight chill in the mornings, then a hot, bright sun at mid-day; with a breeze and just the right number of clouds, moving at exactly the right speed, slowly enough to block the sun and cool us, swiftly enough to encourage a late summer tan. And, the salt water is deep blue, fresh, and clean everywhere.

These are days when our thoughts could or should turn from the transitory Dow Ka Ching to the eternal Tao Te Ching. Well, for some of us anyway...

...While sitting on the porch on these wonderful late summer days, reading the paper of record, we have found three recent instances in which the paper did not let the facts get in the way of the story they wanted to tell us. Let us straighten the record:

1) A front page story about the battle to replace Anthony Weiner in my old Congressional district in Queens featured the fact that the local electorate seemed very angry at President Obama. Gee, what a surprise. It seems that this anger is making it possible for the Republican candidate to mount a credible campaign in a district so heavily dominated by Democrats that it could elect a schmuck (as the ladies of Queens Boulevard would saylike Mr. Weiner in the first place.

Q Bridge
Nowhere in this front page story does the reporter mention, not even once, that former Mayor Ed Koch had made a rare visit to Queens, crossing what is now humorously known as the Ed Koch Queensborough Bridge (probably named so because the former Mayor can once saw it  it from his Manhattan apartment)
to flagrantly, publicly, loudly, and pointedly endorse Mr. Turner, the Republican candidate. 

Mr. Koch was also very upset at the President for what he thought was shabby treatment of Israel, a move that the Mayor, best known as the champion of the Pooper-Scooper Law, knew would play well in the district. 

The reporter declined to answer our question as to why he had conveniently forgotten this fact, despite having written the story about Koch's endorsement of the Republican himself several weeks ago; a report we, might add, that offended many readers who wondered why, at that particular time in US history, Mr. Koch would place the interests of another country ahead of our own critical needs. Incompetent and/or dishonest reporting.

2) A recent report on how San Franciscans are very depressed about the woeful slide of the World Champion Giants was entertaining; however, it seemed more than a bit strange to real Giants' fans, who have been following the team closely this season (and a million other seasons). Why was it strange? The reporter failed to check the actual 2010 vs. 2011 team record for the day he published the story.

If he hadn't been so lazy or contemptuous of the facts, he would have known that on the same day last year the Giants were 69-56, a full 6 games behind San Diego in the standings. That does not look so wonderful compared to the team's current 2011 record of 68-60 and 1.5 games behind Arizona to us. SF Giants fans may still be sad, but the reporter can't simply skip over the most important facts!

We would think that a Times reporter would know that last year the Padres peaked too early, while the Giants came on strong at the end. But, this story did not even mention anything about the actual standings in either year. Lazy and/or incompetent reporting and editing. The reporter has declined comment: probably too embarrassed.

3) Finally, today's Business section reports on the Lacoste brand and how it is re-positiong itself as a premium brand. It tells of how the once-vaunted brand became so widespread that it appeared in discount stores like Walmart. Also, the quality suffered. But, the story flagrantly leaves out an important fact by not mentioning the name IZOD once in the story, when it was IZOD, a division of David Crystal that owned the US rights to the brand for its years "in the desert." Strange indeed. Was it pre-agreed to not mention it?

Le Corcodile
Also, the story fails to mention that the Lacoste family fought hard to wrestle-back those rights from IZOD and began raising the quality of the shirts and brand, making most of the shirts in France itself, returning to the original chemise style, and opening up boutique shops. this began more than ten years ago, but you would never know it by reading lazy and inaccurate story. No, we didn't even bother to ask about this one.

... So, while we sit on the porches in the morning, reading about Libya, deficits, earthquakes,  and the eternal and infernal presidential campaign, we can rest assured that our guess is as good as the paper's as to what is real, what is meaningful, what is honest and truthful...or maybe even better...

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