"I don't believe in journalists having 'responsibility.'"
-Seth Lipsky, October 16, 2003

Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll demanded on August 20, 2003, that Washington "finish the war" against "the Arabs."

Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll assembled their staff for a Champagne toast to mass death on the commencement of hostilities against Iraq. Stoll called it "my war." CNN maintains a running update here of Americans killed in Ira's war.

On February 6, 2003, Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll wrote, in all seriousness, of a pending anti-war demonstration that the "the New York City police could do worse, in the end, than to allow the protest and send two witnesses along for each participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution."

The June 9, 1995 Wall Street Journal quoted an SEC complaint against New York Sun backer Bruce Kovner as saying Kovner had "altered and destroyed" subpoenaed evidence. We wish you'd do the same to the daily print run of your God-awful newspaper, Bruce.

Also, Professor G. Harlan Reynolds alleged on August 27, 2002 - when the Sun was several months in publication - that Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll had not yet paid him for a piece authored for their inaugural issue.

 
 
   
 
Friday, July 12, 2002
 
As stated below, Like Father Like Sun is now publishing on its modified summer schedule, generally reviewing the week's issues of the New York Sun in the aggregate. Not only does this lower our cumulative exposure to the toxic media property, but it allows Brad Olson and myself to excuse ourselves from the LFLS compound Monday through Thursday.

We arrived today to find the interns and hired help had, prior to fucking off to nearby Sangchris Lake to smoke dope and fornicate on its shores, stacked the week's papers adjacent to my desk for our leisurely review. The accumulated Suns, however, are noisome in the extreme, and we will have to get through them with great haste and discard them directly so as to mitigate the extent of the reek. In the interest of minimizing fumigation costs, let us then proceed.

Introduced apparently in my absence of last week and exceedingly conspicuous in this week's crop is a new boxed feature headed "100 YEARS AGO IN THE SUN," an attempt to both fill space (something the Sun, absent the contribution of Rachel Kovner's daily dud, struggles to do with increasing difficulty) and capture some of the old Sun's glory. As noted here previously, there is no continuity between the New York Sun of old and the New York Sun of today. Charles Dana belonged to a more advanced species than Seth Lipsky. As he demonstrates repeatedly this weak, Lipsky is possessed of but the meanest measure of humanity.

Monday's biggest offense against decency began on the front page's upper left-hand corner. The New York' Sun's Pittsburgh-based cousin, Richard Mellon-Scaife's Tribune-Review, is known for its staffers' refusals to append a bylines to their pieces if they had been "dragooned by editors into writing an article serving Scaife's personal or political agenda." We wonder if this is what happened on Monday, when a completely unattributed "Special to the Sun" tore into Louis Farrakhan. The piece was kind enough to break with established Sun tradition and make a concession to balance by quoting gadfly journalist Jude Wanniski, who has taken unpopular stances on Farrakhan and Saddam Hussein, whose Iraq Farrakhan visited last week. Wanniski, however, has been identified in press accounts as a friend and consultant to Sun backers Charles Brunie and Richard Gilder.

The Sun quotes the UPI, itself quoting the "official Iraqi News Agency [INA]," which reported Farrakhan as saying "the Muslim American people are praying to the almighty God to grant victory to Iraq," odd on account of the counterintuitive arrangement of "Muslim American people" and the use of "God" where Farrakhan usually says "Allah," especially when addressing Muslim audiences. Also odd is the Sun's sudden credulity before Iraqi sources not named Ahmad Chalabi - official ones at that! It reminds us of the paper's ambivalent stance toward the New York Times: untrustworthy in the extreme generally, worthy of attack on days when the Manhattan Institute fails to spoon-feed the Sun an editorial, and unimpeachable gospel when cited in corroboration of one of Seth and Ira's opinions.

The beauty of this slackened summer schedule we now operate on is that we can see that the Sun failed to issue a follow-up after Farrakhan took exception with the words INA attributed to him. The Sun parroted the INA/UPI report in which Farrakhan was reported as saying that "the trade sanctions against Iraq...cause millions of deaths a year." Problems there. The UPI telling actually has Iraqi Health Minister Omeed Mubarak reckoning the human toll of the sanctions, not Farrakhan, and the number was reported as 1.6 million. Not that Stoll and Lipsky's minions are remarkable for their respective facilities for reading comprehension. The only place we found Farrakhan giving a sanction-related body count was in The Final Call, where he was reported (one day after the Sun story ran) as providing a 5,000 per month figure on 7 July.

The Final Call's transcript of Farrakhan's 7 July words suggests that any "victory" Farrakhan may have talked about would have been a victory for all combatants involved, viz., an avoidance of war. He said as much to UPI on 10 July when he denied the INA report.

The Sun, of course, sees little percentage in estimating truth, and the story is, at base, a variation on the Lech Walesa/Omar Karsou theme: find a name recognizable to the paper's conservative constituency, interpret a few of that person's hallucinations and record a few of their words, and then build a story around it all. The last part, as evidenced by that remote Walesa piece and one of the two Karsou pieces, is subordinate to the preceding, if not completely unnecessary. Monday's loon was deep-thinking "Ally of Free Iraq" and adjunct American Enterprise Institute "scholar" Laurie Mylroie, who built a career by advancing the thesis that Iraq was behind WTC Mark I, something based almost exclusively, FAIR reports, on "the questionable analysis of the identity of one man." She'd appreciate it if you didn't bring up that piece she authored with fellow Washington Institute on Near East Policy cro mag Daniel Pipes urging support for Iraq.

Tuesday saw more of the same. Benjamin Smith weighed in with a near picture perfect article on school vouchers that no doubt warmed Joe Reich's heart to a dangerously high temperature and a splendid luminescence. Perfection eluded him only on account of his failure to locate and solicit quotes from any sworn enemies of public education and, in Sun fashion, present those ravings as reason. Several such nutters are still to be found, Ben. In the future, we recommend Herman "I got mine; Fuck You" Badillo. We're sure the Manhattan Institute (which gave him a $58,333 fellowship in 2000) has his number. Content yourself, Ben, with the knowledge that your spiffy summation of your masters' opinions is probably been clipped and fixed to the refrigerator door by your parents. It's probably best to continue here without upsetting Seth and Ira's demented worldview by noting that people seem not to care one way or the other about vouchers.

(Incidentally, them there Form 990s are interesting reading. The names of the Institute's eight largest individual donors for the 2000 tax period are, sadly, blanked out. We have our guesses as to those persons' identities. We particularly liked the rough congruence between the Institute's 1998 expenditures (massive amounts spent on school choice; roughly one-quarter that spent on upkeep of Institute fellows and an equivalent amount spent on tort reform) and the column inches allocated by the Sun to the same purposes.

Before getting back to Tuesday's contents, let us contemplate the front page and conclude an exercise in numeracy. It measures 15 by 23 3/4 inches by my certainly faulty yardstick, making for a space of 356.25 square inches. Minus the border, the print space is less than 14 1/4 by 22 1/2, shrinking the text-habitable area to 320.625 square inches. Subtracting the masthead, the pictures (of which there are many) and the "Inside" box, as well as the blank space between stories, the area actually occupied by the text (measured generously and including the full height of the Sun's needlessly large headlines) covers just 154 7/8 square inches, or a meager 43 1/2 per cent of the page. I feel even more cheated of 50 cents daily than I did previously now that I've done the math.)

Right then. Tuesday's page four is taken up in part by another unsigned article, this one artlessly trying to undercut the Democratic establishment in Queens. With predictability levels running at "the Queens County Democratic Party has drawn criticism in recent years as a tightly controlled operation heavy on patronage and short on democracy" heights, I cannot blame the author from withholding their byline.

Deeper in the abyss, we find Alicia Colon, poor thing. Is it a massive case of jet lag that's responsible for her body clock believing it's 1958? What other explanation convincingly accounts for someone to manifest so colossal an imbecility that they would decry a "creeping socialism" the very week that news of capitalist excess explodes left, right and overhead?

Facing Colon's "column" is an ad for Potassium Iodide tablets, an excellent indication as to the Sun's readership and its relationship to reality.

Wednesday's paper - Al Hamdulillah! - spared us exposure to Seth Lipsky's obnoxious wife. You see, Amity Shlaes did not file her Financial Times column, from which her Sun column is "adapted," as the italics say. Adapted, in this instance, means changing the spelling of "programme" to "program" to enhance comprehension. The elitism though translates readily, and does not require editorial intervention.

In Amity's stead is James Lacey, certifiable if not yet certified moron. What edification does Mr. Lacey find in his study of the present Wall Street carnage? Clinton did it! Did Seth and Ira merely cut-and-paste Lacey's effort from Freerepublic.com? Lacey's anachronistic stupidity is humorous, touching even. The same cannot be said of Seth and Ira's even more incredible editorial in which they insist on tapping their imperishable stock of dismissive devices, mocking "so-called lead poisoning."

This is the sort of idiocy that surrounds Errol Louis, easily possessed of the strongest stomach and greatest appreciation of the absurd in all of the Tri-State area. How else could he bear showing up to work each day to suffer Lipsky and Stoll's advocacy of social formations suitable to times pre-dating the Neolithic Age. How else could a learned and sensible man endure Rachel Donadio's front-page fantasizing about "The Perfect Couch?" One day, we hope, Mr. Louis will deploy his talents at greater length. There's an excellent novel in the juxtaposition he's been inserted in since mid-April.

What, for instance, did he make of Wednesday's "Broadway After Dark," if, of course, he wasted the 45 seconds it took to read it? Within Ward Morehouse III records his appreciation for a budding titan of stage: the "stunning blond" daughter born to Zebra's keyboardist and a masseuse to two famous actresses. The "stunning blond" is has been cast in her debutante role...in a dinner theater production staged by the wife of a crony to Howard Stern. A bit off Broadway, no? Note to Ward Morehouse III: please forego the pretense of using your full name when filing such inanities. "Wally More" is a more appropriate byline, though, given your dismal output this week, you should have gone with "Staff Reporter of the Sun." Oh, as a heads-up, let me note, Wally, that Ira's alma mater will be fielding some exciting productions this summer, each as worthy a look as the Zebra-masseuse spawn.

Brad Olson, I see, beat me to the punch on Thursday's Sun, which brings us to today's winner.

Page six is its usual bottomless pit of idiocy. Seth and Ira's column left (a/k/a The City Journal Supplement) has what is essentially yet another reprint from the Manhattan Institute. Beneath that is another typical attack on the Times where the retarded twosome slander Sari Nusseibeh. Shalom Harari's unsupported allegation that Nusseibeh helped direct Iraqi missile attacks is repeated with amplification before moving on to the business of an undivided Jerusalem, international opinion on which is long established.

Amazing as it is, it isn't even Seth and Ira perpetrating the greatest crime against reason. Fred Siegel, the most willfully dim-witted "intellectual" to ever fall upon paper with crayon, is the culprit. Siegel takes aim on - get ready - postmodern intellectuals in a piece that is so utterly typical of the sub-genre, it reads as if an undergrad Young Republican authored it. The only dusty prop missing is the standardized and inexplicable attack on the collective professorate of France, though this presupposes an awareness of the world I suspect Siegel has yet to achieve.

Siegel, you see, has penetrated the recondite learning of the postmodernists by reading the current issue of Harper's, which contains pieces by Stanley Fish and Edward Said, the latter's situation vis-à-vis postmodernism is ambiguous at best. Siegel nods to the most obvious sources for "refutation" of the lifework of both men: Alan Sokal and the thoroughly discredited Justin Weiner, setting a new standard for predictability at the New York Sun in the process.

Fred Siegel also spectacularly brings down his own glass house when he goes after Harper's itself, which Siegel claims is "best known for the interminable essays by its faux aristocratic editor Lewis Lapham, who is convinced that decadent America is in its terminal decline." Amazing! Does he not realize he shares page space with the disgusting prosecutor of the Arkansas Project, Bobby Tyrrell, the man who monopolized the franchise on wanting to be Mencken up until Lapham's rise? Does he not realize he shares space with Hilton Kramer over at City Journal?


Thursday, July 11, 2002
 
Scoop Stoll does it again! On the front page of today’s New York Sun, Managing Editor Ira Stoll lands the story of the year by discovering which prominent New Yorkers were summoned by President (in the loosest sense of the word) Bush during his recent visit. Among these “New Yorkers [who] are in favor with the White House”: Lawrence Mone and Myron Magnet, identified respectively as president of the Manhattan Institute and editor of the Institute’s newsletter. Stoll (né Woodstein?) then blows the lid off the story -- turns out Bush gave Magnet a hug!

The incisiveness of Stoll’s writing leaves one wondering: how was he able to land this hard-to-get piece?

Additional congratulations to Stoll on his restaurant review of yesterday, wherein he soaked his New York Sun corporate masters for two meals at the trendy (to be sure) new eatery Fresh. By my admittedly state-university-honed math, Stoll soaked his employers for a bare minimum (sans tips and booze) of $133 over two nights. Well done! Indeed you are an “ordinary semi-intelligent guy”!

COMING SOON!

Steinhardt’s Menagerie,” our monthly review of animal stories appearing on the Sun’s front page. Early betting lines: Dogs, 2-1; Cats, 4-1; Snakes, even; Weevils, push.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002
 
From the Like Father, Like Sun mailbag: Kayode A. Adefuwora of Lagos, Nigeria, writes the following:

FROM THE DESK OF: KAYODE A.ADEFUWORA LAGOS-NIGERIA.

ATTENTION: THE MANAGING DIRECTOR/C.E.O

REQUEST FOR URGENT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL

AFTER DUE DELIBERATION WITH COLLEAGUES, I DECIDED TO FORWARD THIS PROPOSAL TO YOU. WE WANT A RELIABLE PERSON WHO COULD ASSIST US TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF NINTY FIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLAR (US$95M ,000,000.00) INTO HIS/HER ACCOUNT.
We appreciate Mr. Adefuwora's generosity in estimating our reliability, though our modest capital and even more modest business acumen urged us against accepting his proposal. We did refer him though to the New York Sun, its disgraceful bagmen having so rich a history of fraud and half-assed investment schemes.

Monday, July 08, 2002
 
A special Like Father, Like Sun salute goes out to Jennifer Samuels, author of a letter to the editor of the Sun. Ms. Samuels, obviously a scholar and a gentlelady, accuses St. Alicia Colon of having written a “meandering argument that leads nowhere. She also misses the point.” The topic of the specific column that spurred Ms. Samuels’ letter is not important; Jennifer’s complaints may be reused in regards to any of Alicia’s demented ravings.

On a personal note: as a favor to me, Seth and Ira, could you please stop publishing Wallace Matthews in your pamphlet? His Luca Brasi-like photo frightens my children; his played-out “cynical old sportswriter who’s seen it all but doggone it still has a soft spot in his heart for those kids who just want to play the game for the love of it” routine sickens their father.
 
Please excuse our recent absences - Brother Olivier has been on sabbatical, while I myself have been enjoying a brief, well-earned vacation, sorely needed due to increased business down at the shop.

I found myself - pleased? overjoyed? - nay, ecstatic last Friday evening; whilst awaiting the beginning of my Friday ritual viewing of The Daniel Bull Show (having finished watching its lead-in), I was flipping around when what did I behold but my dear friend Jason Riley, appearing on the CNBC "Wall Street Journal Editorial Board" show. Jason was identified as a member of The Journal's editorial board, but you and I know him best as The Sun's Harry Knowles (to James Bowman's Ebert, or Kael, or Agee, or any other film reviewer of repute and renown). I don't recall what he was prattling on about, nor did I watch for more than two minutes (that damn MTV shortened my attention span, just like mom said it would!), but I am pleased to announce that Mr. Riley's voice was reminiscent of the sage Prof. John Frink, except slightly higher in pitch. Somehow, I always expected. . .

I got back to the LF,LS complex to find that our intern, Cleo, was able to obtain the July 5-7 weekend edition of The Sun via radio-facsimile from New York. Particularly enjoyable was Amity Lipsky's diatribe against potential federal regulation of the accounting industry, as being considered by the Senate. Amity argues that the "big errors" made recently by the Big Five (or as Michael Kinsley, perhaps The Sun's first decent columnist reprinted from another source, put it on the same page, "The Big Five (. . .four. . .three. . .)") accounting firms should be weighed against "all the services that accounting, especially auditing, delivered to the US economy over the decades." Well put, Mrs. Seth; during sentencing, Robert Blake's attorneys should certainly assemble a list of all the services he delivered to the US entertainment economy over the years as an argument against his being regulated by the government. Amity also smartly points out that new regulation "would probably be designed to minimize the risk of accountants ever making a mistake," which of course would be, um, bad, somehow, I guess. She also trots out the argument that additional regulation will make it harder for the accounting industry to attract top talent; the threat of government intervention "has already diminished the attractions of auditing." Where is the young thrill seeker to turn now? Perhaps the action-packed world of the toll-booth attendant, last bastion of the adventurous soul. Or maybe, accounting will be still be performed by the same people who have always done it -- those who enjoy working with numbers. Amity's final crippling blow to the impending regulation is to point out that Sen. Phil Gramm, "senior Republican on the banking committee," opposes the bill. Why would he do so, other than on principle?

Elsewhere on the editorial page (aside from the Kinsley reprint from Salon, easily the best piece of writing The Sun has published other than the collected works of J. Bowman), Steven Malanga, identified as a contributing editor of the City Journal (although it feels like they left something out. . .) manages to annoy by referring to New York as "Gotham" three times in the space of four paragraphs. This distracts from the speciousness of his argument against social services spending, however, so it is not a total waste. Seth and Ira weigh in with a slight anti-Bloomberg posting, complaining of the Mayor's hanging loaned artworks from the Whitney in his mayoral office. That this is an offense against all that is right is established by their pointing out that Mayor Dinkins (Axis of Evil, 80's edition) did the same thing. It may be assumed that Seth and Ira turned out this writing as a counterweight to the puff piece on Bloomberg on the front page, referring to the Mayor as New York's father figure. Among the paternal advice, "Keep fireworks out of the hands of children," "Don't use salt tablets other than as directed," and "If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they'd go to the library instead of Bloomingdale's."
 
Your letters were both received and appreciated, dear readers. As many of you guessed, Brad Olson and I were on vacation. We will return to activity this week, though we will be publishing on our modified summer schedule. Though the posts may be less frequent, we will try to supplement them with longer investigative pieces that Bruce Kovner and Michael Steinhardt are sure to love.

 

 
   
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