"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 11, 2003
Today the Sun runs one of its all-too-infrequent-but-should-be-a-daily-feature features; the corrections box. One correction in particular caught our eye here at Pawnee, IL: “Richard Murphy is the name of the former American diplomat whose scheduled appearance before the commission to investigate the September 11 attacks was canceled. His first name was omitted in an article in Wednesday’s New York Sun.” LFLS readers of course already knew Mr. Murphy’s first name was omitted, as it was pointed out that very day by our own Quentin Robinson.

Quentin Robinson---he gets results.

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Ira Stoll, despite being what Brad O's youngest would term a "dickless wonder," has some mighty big balls. Today he denounces "Ayatollah Lugar," whom he chastises for falling out of step with the war party. The thought, of course, of the Iratollah - whose premodern worldview saw its only update via Seth's wife's misreading of Adam Smith - using such language is laughable. But then again, what about Ira Stool isn't laughable?

He quotes the Brownshirt Brownback legislation that Lugar just wasn't feeling, noting the document's disdain for "an ideological dictatorship presided over by an unelected supreme leader with limitless veto power, an enelected Expediency Council, and Council of Guardians capable of eviscerating any reforms..." Amen, Brother Brownshirt. Down with the theocratic thugs! Cheap gag, I know.

As if to demonstrate to the newsroom that one brings oneself quickly to grief when one foregoes actually sourcing quotes and takes easy recourse to the writings of Skidmark Steyn and Benito Ledeen, Ira claims that "deputy secretary of State [sic], Richard Armitage, has been going around saying publicly and incorrectly that 'Iran is a democracy.'" As Stool places quotes around the assertion, one would expect that it is a quote directly attributable to Armitage. But those expectations would merely betray you as someone accustomed to reading real newspapers with editorial offices staffed by real journalists possessed of real learning and seized by a real desire to report accurately. The Sun prefers to allow newsroom chickenhawk Lipsky run amok on fledgling journos and ranks the maximum mystification of power as cardinal to its mission. Fuck a fact, say SethAndIra. Here is what Armitage really said:
Despite growing concern about the regime's suspected nuclear weapons program, Iran's assistance in the war on terrorism, and the gradual evolution of liberal thought there puts it in a different category from Iraq or North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said in an interview. "The axis of evil was a valid comment, [but ] I would note there's one dramatic difference between Iran and the other two axes of evil, and that would be its democracy. [And] you approach a democracy differently," Armitage said. "I wouldn't think they were next at all," he added. [L.A. Times, 2/14/03]
That's a bit different in both timbre and content, no?
SethAndIra's extraordinary difficulty in funneling every issue through their bigoted, ill-conceived worldview is never showcased quite as clearly as when the two lightweights try to grapple with Iran. Today's latest installment, "Ayatollah Lugar," is yet another poorly-reasoned, self-contradictory, unintentionally hilarious idiotorial on the subject.

"Yesterday in the streets of Iran, protesters against the tyrannical, terrorist theocracy braved attacks from water cannon and machetes," the two declare. Which may lead one to wonder whether it was another anti-Bush protest or an anti-Khameni protest. One is left wondering, as they never specify which theocracy they are referring to.

"Naturally, some Americans wanted to express support for the protesters, hoping to nurse freedom in Iran," the pair go on. Fair enough. Then: "Among those Americans on the side of freedom is Senator Brownback, who, with the bipartisan support of Senators Kyl, Schumer,Inouye and others,introduced the Iran Democracy Act." Problem. Which Americans, precisely, are on the side against freedom? Someone please explain to me what "on the side of freedom" is supposed to tell me about Senator Brownshirt. Or is this another one of Ira's high school debate society tricks?

SethAndIra provide the explanation -- Brownshirt supports a bill with a lot of bluster and some money to support Iranian opposition groups. Which makes sense; look how well the Iraqi Liberation Act, passed in 1998, worked so effectively, with its rhetoric and money. Without that Act, and, you know, all the lies and the billions of dollars and all the dead Americans and the systematic destruction of the integrity of American power, Saddam might still be not making weapons of mass destruction today. And it only took five years.

Ah, but trouble is brewing. "Unfortunately, the Iran Democracy Act ran into opposition from the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, and the top Democrat on the committee, Joseph Biden." Those jerks. But not just jerks! SethAndIra go on to rechristen the honorable senators "Ayatollahs Lugar and Biden." Their crime -- their bill has all the rhetoric and none of the money. Reason enough to confer on them the title of a Shiite religious scholar?

Cute. But the Sunnis won't stick to their guns. Later, they chicken out: "We certainly don’t mean to question the patriotism of Messrs. Biden or Lugar or to suggest that either one is rooting for the Axis of Evil nation." Then what, exactly, is "Ayatollahs Lugar and Biden" supposed to mean? What is "on the side of freedom" supposed to mean? If that was not your intent, what the hell are you slaughtering all these trees for?

"If all those protesters can expect from America is a watered down and desultory message of support, with no money behind it, it just increases the likelihood that the theocracy’s reign will be prolonged," SethAndIra say. They still don't seem to understand what American money, weapons, and power have to do with the current government *at* Iran -- nor with the coming anarchy in Iraq. Who is it who is not on the side of freedom?

And, by the way, July 9th came and went and those airstrikes never came to be. Good thing no one but us reads the Sun, and that no one (including us) gives a shit what SethAndIra think.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003
As noted below by my wise mentor Brad Olson, the Sun today tries to pull a bait-and-switch on its "readers." SethAndIra, who are still desperate to come up with anything that shows an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection, no doubt still believe the widely discredited idea that Atta met with an Iraqi agent prior to 9/11. This notion, which was invented and then retracted by Czech agents, and still survives to this day due only to the senility of William Safire, would be a great thing for the warmongers. Maybe it would help them sleep better at night, having advocated mass slaughter for no apparent reason.

How inconvenient of American intelligence figures to posit that Atta was actually in the United States when he was supposed to be in Prague. Don't they know there's a war on? Why do they hate America?

But the overline tease was linked to an AP story -- in other words, there was something like real news involved. Contrast that with The Believer Adam Daifallah's story ("story" in the sense that it is made up and fantastical) in today's Sun.

"A major policy and intelligence failure has contributed to a massive misunderstanding of Iraq’s role in the September 11 attacks, a witness before the commission investigating the attacks will testify today.... The New York Sun has obtained a copy of the testimony of one witness, an expert on Iraq, Laurie Mylroie. She will tell the commission today that the reasons for going to war with Iraq are misunderstood."

Misunderstood, eh? So does this mean the Sun has finally owned up to its fraudulent police action?

No! We're back to the Saddam-Al Qaeda Love Connection!

"Ms. Mylroie will testify that Iraq was involved with Al Qaeda in executing the attacks of September 11, and that the alleged terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is a fake identity."

Poorly written, yes, but is it all crazy talk?

Yes. Downright debunked (by Daniel Pipes, no less).

Then comes this improbable (for any other newspaper) string of letters:

"Meanwhile, a former State Department official who, according to the book 'The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq,' by Kenneth Timmerman, was sympathetic to a group that promoted trade with Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-Iraq Business Forum, was suddenly removed from the commission’s list of scheduled witnesses.

"Mr. Murphy said he had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict."

Quite a mouthful. A militant Sunni, The Believer cannot even get through a paragraph introducing a figure in his news story without idiotorializing. Come to think of it, he never introduces him. What is Mr. Murphy's first name? It is nowhere to be found in the story. Ira Stoll: Newsman.

And I guess it is not important to know that "The Death Lobby" was published in 1991, and so dealt with a period of time prior to the commencement of hostilities with Iraq. Other groups that "promoted trade with Iraq under Saddam Hussein" include the two Republican administrations that dealt arms to the bastard prior to the First Gulf War (does Ira also think of that war as his own, too?). Aww, who cares. The guy's a Commie. Slander away, Disciple!

One may wonder how such a woefully incompetent reporter/editor team could have "obtained a copy of the testimony" of Ms. Mylroie before she gave said testimony. Shouldn't have been that hard. She, like SethAndIra (and like Mr. Timmerman), are anti-Arab right-wing conspiracy freaks. And, on March 12, 2003, she opined on the Sun's op-ed pages in a piece called "Blind to Saddam's 9-11 Role," sounding the only note on the piano that she knows.
Today’s New York Sun, page one: “U.S. Arrests Iraqi Who Met With 9/11 Ringleader, p. 5”

Today’s New York Sun, page five: “U.S. Forces Arrest Iraqi Diplomat Who Allegedly Met Atta Before 9/11” [emphasis added]

Today’s Like Father, Like Sun: “New York Sun Desperately Needs More Headline Writers Who Are Familiar With The Concept Of 'The Truth'”

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Brad Olson and I have gone through nearly two boxes of Depends wetting ourselves over today's improbably dim Sun - more specifically over "Al Jazeera's Latest," mentioned below by Quentin Robinson, the LFLS understudy who long ago overtook his overlings.

SethAndIra begin: "The decision of Al Jazeera to broadcast that tape, allegedly of Saddam Hussein inciting his countrymen to kill Americans, is the most telling example yet of the real agenda of the independent Arabic network." Word. What kind of a-hole would in any way invite attacks on American troops? The uncomfortable question insinuates itself here: Why do SethAndIra hate "President" Bush?

More important questions that apparently never insinuated themselves to SethAndIra: how sizable is Al Jazeera's audience in an Iraq where electricity is scarce? Is it not conceivable that the Iraqis are, just maybe, a little upset that their country was bombed and occupied by a foreign power? Christ, the Bushites have installed neither a democratic regime nor the infrastructure to convey drinking water. Do SethAndIra really think that the Iraqis require much in the way of incitement at this point?

Today's idiotorial page showcases the talents of managing editor [sic] Ira Stoll.

To start with, the lead idiotorial, "Rangel on Bloomberg," contains this fine turn of phrase in the first paragraph: " It took a Democrat with the crust of Congressman Rangel to remind New Yorkers yesterday that Mayor Bloomberg’s crusade to diminish political parties springs...from an old-fashioned, partisan political deal.... The congressmen, our Benj. Smith reports at page one, had stopped by the steps of City Hall to endorse Councilman Bill Perkins’ re-election in November."

Apparently the Sun thinks so much of Charlie Rangel that he is not one congressman, but many.

William Tucker's overlong and underthought op-ed, "The City of the Snoozing Teachers," contains an absurdly ideological distillation of the work of John Rawls, on its way to warming over Sol Stern's already warmed over reacto dogma on public schools. Mr. Tucker's handle on the philosophy of Rawls -- besides being, you know, flat wrong -- suffers from several serious problems, first among them being that Tucker refers to Rawls as "the late Princeton University philosopher." Rawls was a professor at M.I.T., Harvard, and Cornell. He was an instructor at Princeton (from which he received his Ph.D.) for two years of his life, before he made a name for himself. He wrote "A Theory of Justice," the book Tucker mangles, while at Harvard. So Rawls is a "Princeton University philosopher" in the same sense that the New York Sun is a "New York newspaper."

And there is more. "Al Jazeera's Latest," the newest anti-free-speech screed from the Sunnis, contains these words: "There has been a lot of too-ing and fro-ing over whether the tape is genuine." This reference to the confirmed tape of Saddam Hussein (newest addition to Bush's lost-and-not-found list) speaking to the Iraqi people is laughable ("too-ing and fro-ing"?!), moreso because Ira does not seem to have mastered two-to-too. Maybe instead of laughable I should call Ira's formulation "eery," a delightfully anachronistic spelling that no doubt found its way into the Sun's pages via typo.

This is to say nothing of the content, which is typically absurd. SethAndIra take Al Jazeera, the only thing resembling an independent Arab media outlet, to task for...something. Apparently by airing the Saddam tape, they are playing into Saddam's hands. "All indications are — and our friends among the democratic movement in Iraq concur — that Saddam is still alive and directing his remaining loyalists to attack American soldiers. Al Jazeera, already exposed as having been infiltrated by Iraqi intelligence under Saddam’s rule, is setting the lights at the horizon."

Presumably by "our friends among the democratic movement in Iraq" they are referring to Ahmed Chalabi, the wanted criminal whose only friends are on the editorial board of the New York Sun. The Sun would probably prefer that no one airs the tape, that all media all over the world take after Fox News and stick to covering Resident Bush's bullshit photo ops. Al Jazeera's crime is not toeing the American line, something that is unacceptable for a fair and balanced press.

"As President [sic] Bush and his war planners wrestle with tactics and strategy for this new phase of the Battle of Iraq ["Mission Accomplished"!], the role of hostile broadcasts like Al Jazeera’s is something that will become an issue." We can only assume that SethAndIra would advocate dealing with them as they would deal with American dissent. Call it the Ann Coulter school of American Liberty.

To keep the laugh train rolling, we find these words: "As President [again, sic] Bush begins his Africa tour today,it is difficult to overstate the devastation that AIDS has wrought at Africa, especially South Africa."

At Africa. To any Sun staffers who may be reading this, herein lies your future.

Monday, July 07, 2003
A trip down memory lane...

Ira Stoll, February 19, 2003: "Mr. Savage does have a knack for wry, insightful observations on topics ranging from antitrust law to the excesses of the American left. They are delightful for the way they are calculated to incite apoplexy among the holier-than-thou types."

Mr. Savage, July 5th, 2003: "Oh, you're one of the sodomites... You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."

Wry and insightful, indeed. I'm sure Scalia would agree...
I know where I’ll be on August 11. . . .
Just days (five, to be exact) after suggesting America attack Iran, after so much rhapsodizing in support of Ira’s war, SethAndIra tell us why America should not get involved in Liberia. The Africans should take care of their own problems, they idiotorialize. It’s not that they find the Liberian situation “inadequately compelling” (such a lovely way of dismissing an international tragedy), it’s just that they (with a number of “serious Africa hands”) are “warning the president [sic] against a hasty intervention in favor of broader and more serious long-term solutions.” Ah yes. We wouldn’t want to do anything hasty, or without a long-term solution, would we? Although I’m thinking the real reason SethAndIra oppose Liberian intervention is because they’re worried that the Liberians will just waste their freedom on washing machines and microwave ovens.

Elsewhere on the idiotorial page, good old Emmett Tyrrell writes of his trip to Spain, where he witnesses the bullfights. Em describes the matadors “all dressed in ornate, tight-fitting couture;” later, a matador enters the ring “dressed in a costume that would have sold well at Victoria’s Secret.” Oh, and also, “To be a fine matador. . . One has to have a strong arm with the blade, good eye-hand coordination, fast footwork, and tight pants. The three young matadors I watched the other night had only the tight pants.” As always, I’m not sayin’ anything, I’m just sayin’.


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