"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 14, 2003
 
Not much time today, folks, to devote to the Sun. I'm gearing up for getting down on this most auspicious of days, and find my thoughts thankfully drifting from SethAndIra's innumerable idiocies to the One True Love of my life. I merely note in passing the act of editorial vandalism perpetrated against Colin Miner and Matthew Sweeney. Messrs. Lipsky and Stoll subhead this competent piece of reportage dealing with the mayor's downplay of allegations of imminent terrorist attack ("Go about your business, the city’s safe"), "Mayor and Governor Say City Is Ready for an Al Qaeda Attack." Editors at the competition, obviously free of the handicaps hindering Seth and Ira's ability to comprehend plain speech, have a different take.

The Sun's editors have never situated themselves to real people, real events, or even reality, at close proximity. With the new layers of plastic sheeting and duct tape protecting their atrophied minds and primitive world views against the intrusion of good sense, we expect to see the paper's editorial dementia worsen.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
 
Today’s New York Sun editorial focuses on the Democratic decision to filibuster against the nomination of talented amateur judge Miguel Estrada to the DC Court of Appeals. The Sun assigns the Democrats’ move to jealousy over a minority daring not to be a Democrat (as if there were no actual reasons to oppose his nomination). The Sun goes on to sing the praises of “African-American and Hispanic communities [who] have developed lively conservative factions.” As an example of said minority liveliness (“Lively”? Ah yes, we must always condescend, mustn’t we?) SethAndIra write, “This nation’s foreign policy is sounder for the able service of Colin Powell”.

Let’s flash back to December 17, 2003 (well, that’s the date on the thing- - or perhaps it really is a dispatch from the future!): “It’s becoming clearer by the day that the State Department, under Colin Powell, is actively working to undermine President Bush’s policies on Iraq.” Not to mention August 14, 2003 (again, past? future? only time well tell! or has already told! crazy man crazy!): “The State Department is obstructing President Bush’s plans to liberate Iraq. No, not Colin Powell’s State Department, though it, as we’ve reported, has been doing its part.” But now Powell is “able”? Sounds like just a couple months ago SethAndIra were ready to charge him with. . . well, you know. . .

I won’t be posting for a few days; the wife and I are taking our annual Valentine’s trip. See you next week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
 
We can’t help but wonder: when their employers call for treason charges against persons exercising their constitutional right to express an opinion, how do Errol Louis and James Bowman feel?

Meanwhile the accolades keep streaming in! Two more letters protesting the Sun’s latest lunacy get printed, while on the Web Timothy Noah of Slate is the latest to condemn, vilify, and/or denounce the New York Sun. Noah raises his pimp hand nicely, slapping around today’s hypocritical Sun “editorial”. Noah says that while Seth Lipsky “refused” to discuss the offending (and still offensive) editorial in question, Seth referred Noah to today’s follow-up. As Noah writes, “the editorial tries to con readers into thinking that the only issue the Sun ever cared about was public safety. It praises a hard-to-argue-with decision by a federal judge that forbade the protesters to march past the United Nations, which has been off-limits since Sept. 11, and instead granted them permission to hold a rally at ‘Dag Hammarskjord Plaza,’ by which the Sun presumably means Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, which is adjacent to the United Nations.” Hammarskjord? And thus does Noah discovers the simple everyday pleasure of reading the still-apparently-uncopyedited Sun; but I digress. Noah claims that today the Sun “misrepresent[s] completely its earlier position as it (wisely) retreats from it.” Noah’s piece is good, although he could have been stronger in pointing out the utter hypocrisy of today’s “jovial (if tardy) defense of the right to dissent”, and I would completely disagree with one contention Noah makes. He wonders “how an admired journalist like Seth Lipsky, who edits the Sun, could allow such fascist rantings into his newspaper.” First, Seth has surely lost the right to any admiration by this point in the Sun’s sorry excuse for a life; likewise, referring to him as a “journalist” is at this point mistaken. Beyond that, Noah should realize that the Sun consists largely of such fascist rantings, and the wonder is why any actual journalist who values America and the First Amendment continues to work there.

Also, today’s editorial uses the word “hullabaloo.” Pathetic.

Monday, February 10, 2003
 
Reading the Sun is like being made a party to an unsolicited, awkward confidence. Or like staying too late at a pub only to see an acquaintance insist on drinking too much and embarrassing themselves despite the active intervention of friendlies. Or like watching a POS Ford pull up to the starting line against my kick-ass 1969 Chevelle SS 396. Or like watching an inspired but retarded child attempt to build a Crystal Palace out of third-hand, ill-fitting Legos. Etc.

Seth and Ira seem not to care. The imbecility they today commit to the Web shows that neither man cares about their reputation, drafting dubieties such as:
It was quite a weekend at the annual meeting of defense ministers known as the Wehrkunde Conference. The interior minister of Bavaria, Guenther Beckstein, apparently choked on his beer when he heard that the U.S. State Department was cautioning American citizens to avoid downtown Munich, what with anti-war protests weighing in against America. “American citizens,” the Bavarian growled, “are safer in Munich than they would be if they took a walk in San Francisco or LA.” Well, there are those of us who remember the performance of the Munich constabulary back in 1972, when Arab terrorists murdered the Israeli Olympians. They botched it at the Olympic village and then, again, fatally, at Fuerstenfeldbruck, the airfield where the whole story ended.
In SethandIranistan - that morally bankrupt and intellectually insolvent agglomeration of village idiots - pointing out irrelevant tragedies 30 years past is an acceptable means of arguing for an unjust war. Keep in mind though that Seth and Ira, while asserting that Germany's 1970s' intelligence and police procedural failures disqualify it from staking out a just position on the upcoming war against Iraq, continue to venerate the American security and intelligence forces that so singularly failed to prevent the murder of 3,000 workers in the World Trade Center. And that failed to find bin Laden. And which were cited as bearers of gospel by The Administration in justifying the soon to be staged Gulf War sequel.

Real newspapers concern themselves with questions of relevance, salience, appropriateness, and with achieving readability. All the preceding are discounted by Seth and Ira, rendering their enterprise too ridiculous to consider. Resultingly, it can only make Nexis - the collective political conscious is still fathoms above - via a drubbing by seeming allies in a (not much) reformed White Power magazine.
 
Last Thursday, our Grady Olivier pointed out (as opposed to “pointed pointed out”) the Sun’s latest outrage, an editorial calling for treason charges to be filed against anti-war protestors. An LFLS reader followed up the next day, calling the editorial “the most shameful piece of writing ever put out by [the Sun], and that, as you well know, is saying much.” Since then, the floodgates have opened. (Not that LFLS had anything to do with it; we’re just glad other people are taking note of the shoddy quality of this rag.)

First there was Spinsanity, calling the piece a “breathtaking . . . direct attack on the free speech rights of every American.” Author Brendan Nyhan goes on to write, “the editors' logic is clear . . . it is desirable to obstruct free speech rights in order to advance a particular political cause.” Nyhan points out the Sun’s “pseudo-logic,” and quotes Ari Fleischer: “It is emphatically a patriotic act for people to protest on behalf of whatever cause they see fit in our country. And if some differ with the President and call for the use of no force and take to the streets peacefully to protest that, that's the finest tradition of America.”


Next up, Eugene Volokh. In the National Review Volokh writes, “I firmly support a war against Iraq, but it's vital that the people have a right to oppose it. . . Criticism of the government, especially in wartime (or in the prelude to war), is vital if the people are to decide whether to reelect the government, and whether to threaten the government with not being reelected. This is the fundamental truth justifying the First Amendment, and it shows the Sun's error.” The Professor closes, “The same First Amendment that protects the Sun and the National Review protects the war's critics as well.” Because they are on the same side, Volokh of course holds back from too strongly criticizing the Sun editorial; happily, Joe Conason does not.

Conason writes that the Sun “sounded much like the old Pravda, or the People's Daily in Beijing, not like an American newspaper with traditional respect for the Bill of Rights. I read on and the editorial got worse, as if the writer had suffered a seizure of dementia while at the keyboard. . . . Perhaps this week the Sun will advocate sending tanks to mow down those dirty anarchists, like the Chinese authorities did at Tiananmen. The paper itself isn't very important, but it is financed by several powerful figures, including the Canadian media mogul Conrad Black, New York philanthropist Michael Steinhardt and New Republic investor Roger Hertog. One would think these conservative gentlemen are too respectable for gutter politics, but maybe not.

“I called Sun editor Seth Lipsky -- a journalist with a good reputation who professes his devotion to ‘individual liberties’ -- to ask why he had published something so irresponsible and rabid. He writes most if not all of the Sun's editorials, but he wouldn't comment. Others say Lipsky was out of town last week and the author was managing editor Ira Stoll. (That sounds plausible. This is the kind of problem that arises when nobody is minding the store, and the idiot son takes over the cash register.) Stoll's boss and the Sun's columnists -- including Andrew Sullivan -- ought to repudiate his authoritarian outburst.”

So many pull quotes to choose from. . . “The paper itself isn't very important”. . . “irresponsible and rabid”. . . “nobody is minding the store”. . . “idiot son”. . . Perhaps the Sun can revamp its latest ad campaign to include some of these tributes.

So there you have it. The Sun catches it from the right (Volokh), the left (Conason), and the independent observer (Spinsanity). But what of the Sun’s readership? In Friday’s edition, Terry O’Neill of Albany, NY, wrote that he was “astonished, shocked and appalled” at the Sun’s editorial, observing, ”As a newspaper [sic], you, above all, should know how important are the rights of the people to speak, to publish, to gather together, and to petition the government for redress.

“Or do you?” Well, Mr. O’Neill, we all know the answer to that.

In today’s paper, Dolores Wolfe of Strafford, Vermont; Adrian Edmonds of Israel; Keith Thompson of San Diego; and Tim Freeman of Dayton, NJ, all express their outrage as well. (Mr. Edmonds confessed himself “appalled” and “disturbed,” while Mr. Thompson was “shocked that a newspaper [again, sic] would so blithely dismiss the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. . . Be grateful that you live and work in a country that guarantees you the right to publish such nonsense.”)

How proud SethAndIra must feel at this, their first real attention from persons not named Olivier or Olson.

 

 
   
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