"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, February 07, 2003
I share the love Brad Olson feels for our readers. Yesterday's Seth and Ira outrage, wherein they declared a lawful, moral, and Constitutionally protected demonstration against war a prosecuatble act of treason, was probably their greatest to date. I hadn't enough time to react fully to it, though an interested reader wrote in amplifying what little I managed to write:
Have you guys mentioned that ira stoll is an absolute idiot lately? Today's editorial is the most shameful piece of writing ever put out by [the Sun], and that, as you well know, is saying much. A poster-boy chickenhawk. Do you remember that scene at the end of Born on the Fourth of July, when Mr. Kovic goes to protest the war at the 72 Republican convention and a rabble of bow-tied preppie Republican dipshits gleefully shout "traitor" at the paralyzed vet? If Ira Stoll had been alive at that time, which the man-child was not, he would have been one of those bow-tied fools. The fact that there is a (modest, very modest) market for this kind of trash is truly frightening.

It is interesting that the fact that the White House continues to send flowers to the grave of Jefferson Davis -- an actual traitor, a traitor who took his treason to the point of forming his own splinter country in defense of the institution of chattel slavery -- passes the sun's treason-watchers without a murmur.
Almost as instructive was the following, from a gentleman whose enthusiasm for LFLS, while tending in a direction opposite the above reader's, is at least as great:
You pussies can gertainly get my goat. Why don't you have a comment section, like other blogs? Are you afraid you'd be shown up. Being shown up or prosecuted for treason should be the least of your worries. If i saw you clowns on the march I'd stop you to have a few words. And you wouldn't like it.
Wow. Who would have thought that Brad Olson and I, both men of peace (just like Arik Sharon), would inspire such poorly punctuated rage and vituperation? I will note here that, when originally conceived, LFLS had intended to merely document the sleazy business practices of "Daddy" Michael Steinhardt, the anti-democratic politics of Bruce Kovner (Rachel Kovner's dad), and the general objectionability of the paper's remaining backers. We were certain that the paper would aggressively promote these men's pet projects at the expense of truth and justice, something the succeeding months have amply demonstrated. On the Sun's advent, we began archiving its crudities and transgressions against the newspapering craft. We felt the need to establish a central depository for unsigned sub-coherent pieces about Mehdi Haery, illustrations of Ira Stoll's inability to edit (copy- or otherwise) a scant 14 pages of print, and examples of Seth Lipsky, the newsroom Fagin, 'developing' his corps of young journalists by turning it into a steno pool for The Manhattan Institute. Put more plainly, though our mission has changed it has never included anything approaching dialogue. A comments section is thus not necessary.

Thursday, February 06, 2003
God, I love our readers. Even when Grady and I are too busy, they are always willing to take up our (considerable) slack. Today’s mailbag [links added]:

Hi Brad,

If you were not so busy with your other businesses, you could have had the time to actually read that editorial and find this gem to have it proudly revealed to the world:

"We've pointed pointed out that it costs $91 an hour to run a public bus in New York City..."

As our reader points out, we often are too busy to read the whole Sun; sometimes it is impossible for us to make it through a whole column, let alone the whole “paper.” So, dear readers, keep those cards and letters coming!
The Believer reports as "Powell Lays Out America’s Case for War Against Iraq." Young Adam Daifallah and his overseers would have termed Powell's presentation "a one-two-three punch" regardless of its content, so eager they are to shock and awe the hapless people of Iraq. Never mind that "Hans Blix said there was no evidence of mobile biological weapons laboratories or of Iraq trying to foil inspectors by moving equipment before his teams arrived." Never mind that an FBI investigator's claim that "We've been looking at this [purported link between Iraq and al-Qaeda] hard for more than a year and, you know what, we just don't think it's there." If Powell had specific evidence that Abu Zarqawi, a bin Laden associate, was operating from Baghdad, he didn't share it. Curiously, Powell didn't treat Iraq's admission that al Qaeda elements are active on Iraqi soil. Landing 0 of 3 comprising blows, Powell's "one-two-three punch" strikes us as underwhelming.

Even more underwhelming is the latest from Seth and Ira, "Comfort and the Protesters." You've gotta love an editorial that opens such: "Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are doing the people of New York and the people of Iraq a great service by delaying and obstructing the anti-war protest planned for February 15."

The aim of the piece is to provide a bill of treason against the anti-war protestors (Seth and Ira "prefer to call them protesters against freeing Iraq"), who are "comforting" Saddam Hussein, an "enemy" of America. Sadly for the Sun's credibility, the piece shows no rigor though plenty of mortis. To bolster their charge against Iraq, Seth and Ira tell us "A government employee in Iraq reacted to the loss this month of the space shuttle Columbia by telling Reuters, 'God is avenging us.'" Guess the L.A. Times doesn't reach the Sun's editorial offices:
In interviews on the streets of Baghdad, most Iraqis did not hesitate to express a bond and sympathy with the astronauts who died -- among them a decorated Israeli pilot who as a young man took part in the bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor.

Several Iraqis volunteered that, in spite of the rising threat of a U.S.-led war against their government -- as well as the Arab world's long-standing antipathy toward Israel -- they took no pleasure in the pain felt by Americans and Israelis after the disaster.

"As Iraqis, we respect science, and they were on a scientific mission," said Abdul Awith, a mathematics professor passing Sunday afternoon at backgammon with a grizzled friend at the Hassan Ajami cafe on one of Baghdad's oldest streets.

"What does it matter if it is an American or an Israeli who is killed? It is a human being," Awith said.
Edifying, that. Almost as edifying as Seth and Ira's latest howl against dissent: "So 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."

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Seth Lipsky, in defiance of defensible practice, continues to board passengers upon his sinking ship. Seeing a young and needy New Shiterion poet standing dockside with a book review barely up to English 101 scratch in hand, Seth approaches to proposition the young fellow, who of course accepts. We imagine the perennially available James Bowman's nectar was of overly mature vintage for Seth, leading him to name innocent Adam Kirsch "books columnist of The New York Sun." The poor fellow.

Elsewhere the ordinarily sub-acknowledgement pair find glee in being dismissed (hey! that's a form of recognition, no?!) by Mayor Bloomberg. Seth and Ira err early in the piece, repeating Bloomberg's finger wagging at "a local newspaper.” Seth and Ira are of course from Massachusetts. The locus of common 'intellectual' property between the two (SethandIranistan) would be properly located in remote history, not contemporary New York. There's nothing local about Seth Lipsky, Ira Stoll, or their paper, no matter what they task Ben Smith to write.
Yesterday’s SmarterTimes objected to a line in a Monday Times article on the Columbia space shuttle loss (“The bitterness in the state of Arab-Israeli relations. . . inevitably spilled over into this event,” going on to quote an Egyptian who said, “The fact that one Israeli died is a [sic; don’t know if this was the Times or the Sun; if it was the Times, I’m surprised Ira didn’t pick that nit] good news. Also to have some American dead is good news.”). Ira writes:

Does the Times really think this sort of reaction is “inevitable”? And even if it does, isn’t that an opinion as opposed to a fact of the sort that can be passed along safely unattributed by a reporter in the news columns?

Setting aside the fact that the latter sentence is one of the worst sentences in the Sun’s brief but distinguished history of poorly written sentences, our attention flipped back to this, from the front page of yesterday’s Sun (in other words, the same issue as the above SmarterTimes entry):

Mayor Bloomberg took a swipe at overly generous Bronx juries yesterday, telling a panel of state legislators that jurors in “some counties” are “out of control” and vote ridiculously high awards.

“Overly generous”? Bloomberg certainly didn’t use those words (at least, Big Ben Smith didn’t quote him as using them). Seems to me that SethAndIra are engaging in bit of what Ira was accusing the Times of (and accuses them of on a regular basis). Here is how an actual paper might have put it:

Mayor Bloomberg took a swipe at Bronx juries yesterday, telling a panel of state legislators that jurors in “some counties” are “out of control” and vote ridiculously high awards.

Isn’t that better? Less editorial? More accurate? Well, yes, except for the accurate part. In the quotes used by Mr. Smith, Bloomberg appears not to have actually mentioned the Bronx at all in his remarks. It would appear that the Sun has decided which county falls into the mayor’s “some counties” category. Ultimately, isn’t that an opinion as opposed to a fact of the sort that can be passed along safely unattributed by a reporter in the news columns?

Speaking of the Sun, and SethAndIra, Mayor Bloomberg has put it most eloquently. “Facts didn’t get in the way of this editorial writer” he said of the Anemic Duo. “Although with this editorial writer facts never seem to.”

Tuesday, February 04, 2003
In a fugitive moment of editorial sanity, Seth and Ira place one of Errol Louis' well-crafted pieces on the Sun website. But whatever credibility the two acquired in doing so is exhausted by the items flanking Mr. Louis.

In a review of "Fifth of July," Jeremy McCarter writes, "There were confused, idealistic young people back then [1977], and still are today. But Vietnam, and the radicalism of the 1960s, are too singular and too near at hand to resonate strongly with our current turmoil." The second sentence places Mr. McCarter about as far from comprehensibility as is possible. Seth and Ira were probably too jazzed by the preceding sentence to realize it. After all, this is the Sun, where in addition to commenting on scenery and lights, a theater review must include at least a passing swipe at those questioning Seth Lipsky's beloved Vietnam conflict and the pending campaign against Iraq. Amazing that Mr. McCarter failed to include the line, "The surprise of the evening is Ms. Posey, a favorite of Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Free Iraqis."

Further idiocy ensues in the Chalabi advertorial that is "The War Budget." SethandIra persist in drafting imbecilities such as "America prepares for the next stage in the war against the Axis of Evil," and in questioning someone "arguing for a coup in Iraq instead of a democratic revolution."

Monday, February 03, 2003
No real comment today, other than to note that the Sun’s editorial on the Columbia crash is filled to the brim with God, and is as annoying as the paper’s usual crap.


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