"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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
The two fine posts below by my fine mentors need no augmentation, but there were two parts of today's Sun that were (granted, less) ridiculous than the latest Benny Avni wiping.

*At* the idiotorial page, we find this string of words, relating to Mayor Bloomberg's relationship to housing on Staten Island:

"While the builders on the site, D.I.A. Construction, didn’t want to talk to our reporter, it seems safe to speculate that they might have had a good chuckle if they heard the mayor’s comment..."

When did the Sun get into all this business of "speculation"? This is truly pathetic. They can't get a source to talk to them, because their paper sucks, so instead of actually doing any further reporting they simply "speculate" on what the source would have said, were they talking to a real newspaper. Note Benny the Jet's fine use of "speculation" in his latest Chalabi blowjobs.

Also, on page one, the Sun lets down its guard for a moment and reveals itself as a real college newspaper, wasting 1,259 words on The Believer Adam Daifallah's investigation into the finances of some professor at Columbia. If Benny Avni's piece is "the worst article in the terrible history of the awful New York Sun," TB's is surely the dullest. The only kernel of sweet, gooey goodness -- Rita Hauser, the philanthropist who TB goes out of his way to trash, "gave a total of more than $1.8 million in gifts in 2001 to a wide variety of causes including the American University in Cairo, Refugees International, the Nixon Center, and the Manhattan Institute." Oops.
In what may be the worst article in the terrible history of the awful New York Sun, Benny “The Jet” Avni brings us a story headlined “Ahmad Chalabi’s Shining Moment.” (Below, Bro. Olivier comments that he thought the shining moment would have been when the Pirate Chalabi escaped Jordan in the trunk of a car, with millions in tow.)

First: The shining moment? That Chalabi was not allowed to speak to the UN. What a triumph!

But: The Pirate did get to m.c. the ensuing press conference, as the press “howled” their questions. (Most likely Benny was not among the howlers, as the Sun has access to Chalabi at all times, befitting its position as the Iraqi National Congress’ daily newsletter.) Benny notes that the gathered reporters asked why Chalabi sat in the middle during the conference, a question which “betrayed suspicion many in the press still harbor toward the head of the Iraqi National Congress who is still described in many news reports as a ‘former exiled leader.’ Journalists tend to cast doubt on Mr. Chalabi’s Iraqi credentials as a matter of course.” Benny is right to wonder why journalists refer to Chalabi as a former exiled leader, for while he was exiled, he has never been a leader. Further, “Journalists tend to cast doubt on Mr. Chalabi’s Iraqi credentials,” explaining why the Sun tends not to.

Benny goes on to disparage Chalabi’s cohorts, writing that Chalabi, “unlike his fellow delegation members, has the ability to command a room — talent that was in full display in the corridors of the U.N. and, more generally, around Manhattan all day yesterday.” Including 105 Chambers Street, no doubt.

Benny notes The Pirate was asked if the INC helped to find the Hussein boys yesterday. The Pirate replied, “We have been working very hard to develop information about the whereabouts of Saddam and his sons,” Benny “writes”, then adds, Chalabi “did not however take direct credit for the apparently successful hit on two aces in the infamous card deck.” Credit that Benny is apparently ready to give, despite the fact that no reputable news sources appear to be giving the INC any credit whatsoever.

Still, some credit is given Chalabi’s toadies. Benny says that Adnan Pachachi, a former Iraqi foreign minister who fled in 1969 (or ten years after a pubescent Chalabi headed for the border) “displayed impressive control of the English language.” Congratulations Benny: That sentence displays impressive control of condescension and anti-Ayrab racism! Sadly, you lose points for the following typo-plagued run-on, surely edited by Ira himself: “The governing council, representing a wide array of political views in Iraq [sic], was hand-picked by the American-led occupation authority and is meant to carrying out [sic] such tasks as writing a constitution and nominating Iraqi heads of foreign, defense, and other important government ministries.” Meant to carrying out indeed.

Not all the moments were shining, however, as Benny “reports” that “Two demonstrators. . . were dragged out of the council room just before Mr. Pachachi’s speech, . . . obviously trying to portray the visiting Iraqis as American stooges,” while “A U.N. diplomat speculated yesterday that the reason Mr. Pachachi was elected by his Iraqi colleagues to address the U.N., rather than the more charismatic Mr. Chalabi, was that Mr. Chalabi is considered by many — and not just unruly demonstrators — to symbolize that supposed Western imposition.” Which, if true, is shameful; as a great man recently said, “foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq”, echoing Kofi Annan’s statement (quoted by Our Man “At” The UN) that “democracy cannot be imposed on Iraq from the outside.” (Of course, The Jet notes that The Pirate responded to Annan, “It seems to me this is an oxymoron. . . perhaps this is some kind of code for something else people want to say.”)

“But,” “writes” Benny, continuing his Emmett Tyrrell-style hagiography, “it was not for [Chalabi] to speculate what Mr. Annan meant. [I think you’re missing an “on” after speculate, Hemingway.] Mr. Chalabi was too busy taking charge. As his two colleagues went to address the lofty Council on Foreign Relations early in the morning, Mr. Chalabi went to the Iraqi U.N. mission, to ask what the diplomats there need to better represent the new Iraq.” Judging from Bro. Robinson’s fine dispatch of yesterday, “cable hookup and an ottoman” likely topped the list.

And as the Sun sets, Benny Avni leaves us with truly inspiring words. “Speaking to TV crews [Chalabi] said that the mission no longer belongs to Saddam’s intelligence gatherers. Now it is the property of ‘the Iraqi people.’ His mere presence there was meant to signal that he was their true representative.” Ahmad Chalabi, come back to liberate Iraq. . . or at least its treasury.
Lipsky liege Benny Avni today writes of "Ahmad Chalabi's Shining Moment." No, not that shining moment. Nor this one. And, no, not that shining moment when, rather than answer urgent questions about the restoration of basic services, he "simply got up and led the way to a sumptuous lamb and rice banquet served on the carpeted floor outside." Though Benny Avni would no doubt say you were close: after all, Chalabi, though again fleeing accountability, led the way.

For Avni, the shining moment comes when Chalabi is refused the chance to address the UN Security Council. As reputable news outlets reported:
Before the meeting, Chalabi said the purpose of his visit was to brief the Security Council on the state of Iraq, not to seek any official UN credential.
So he showed up to speak and was denied listeners, yet that's a victory. And SethAndIra - their names little more than the punchline to a joke at this point - call their paper, likewise unable to secure an audience, a success.

At least they're consistent on this score if no others.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Noted in passing:

-That anonymous 'Staff Reporter of the Sun' has been active as a mutha of late. Today s/he notes that the "Saudis Pent $420,000 on WTO Lobbying." Earlier the paper told us that the Saudis spent $14.2 million on a PR campaign to convince Americans of Saudi snuggliness. That sums to almost $15 million, yet Saudi Arabia remains very much a pariah. I can think of only one less successful propaganda effort.

-New York Sun=PR Newswire: A zionist organization issues a press release taking precisely the stand you'd expect it to take. SethAndIra rated this the 'Staff Reporter of the Sun''s treatment of this event as Page 2 news yesterday. Today the president of that organization authors a letter which SethAndIra gleefully reproduce full of intemperate howls against Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and "arch-terrorist" Yasser Arafat. Thankfully there's only one such letter. Printing two or more, we suppose, would have taken up the space which immediately follows - which is occupied by an advertorial placed by the same zionist organization.
The Sun is so comical in general that we Sunspotters relish those (increasingly frequent) moments when the newspaper falls into unintentioned self-parody. Take today's Iraqi National Congress press release, which masquerades as a news story slugged "Iraqi Mission in N.Y. Is Liberated." The press release was not written by the INC's usual p.r. guy, Adam Daifallah, but Benny Avni ably pinch-hits for The Believer.

First, headline. Then, this: "The Iraqi mission to the United Nations, a townhouse on East 79th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenue, was liberated yesterday by a small delegation of the freshly minted National Council for Iraq." Liberated! One imagines some sort of Monty Python assault on the townhouse, with the INC stumbling up the stairs with WWII-era rifles and helmets, planting their flag in the middle of the living room. Later, we find out what the Sun means by "liberated" -- a couple of INC guys turned on the TV and sat around on a couch. Not so different from the "liberation" of Iraq, come to think of it.

Not content to simply report the news, as might be expected of a newspaper reporter, Avni editorializes. He describes Entifadh Qanbar, "the point-man for the Iraqi National Congress" as "the man representing the best-known prewar anti-Saddam, pro-democracy group of native Iraqis." I have no idea what that last phrase means. I presume Avni means that the INC is the best-know prewar blah blah blah, unless Qanbar is moonlighting for some other group, say, of actual Iraqis. The contortions and tortured syntax betray Ira's heavy, clumsy editorial hand.

Later, Avni gets worried. "[The Iraqi National Council] voted to send a three-member delegation to address the U.N. Security Council and tell members of their vision for Iraq’s future. It was not clear late last night whether the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmad Chalabi would be given the opportunity to articulate that vision for the Council today ... only one of the three Iraqi representatives, former Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi, would be addressing them, U.N. sources said. It was unclear whether Mr. Chalabi would attend the session, as a silent participant or, as U.N. sources said, would skip the session altogether to register his pique."

Well, anyone could have told Avni the answer to that one, but isn't it better to let it keep him awake all night? Or, to sleep better, Benny, why not ask the INC's "point-man"?

"Mr. Qanbar, for his part, denied speculation that Mr. Chalabi would not attend." Nothing has ever stopped SethAndIra from baseless speculation. Just look at their idiotorial page! (Incidentally, known felon and born-again Iraqi Chalabi did attend the meeting, and did not speak.)

"Nobody at the mission said they had any knowledge about the whereabouts of the weapons of mass destruction," Avni states, opting for the article "the" to refer to a set of objects that do not exist -- a bold epistemological move.

"Poverty and constant wars were the regime’s way of keeping Iraqis down and the regime in power," Avni concludes, once again blending reporting and opining. Poverty and constant wars, huh? Reminds me of a certain someWone...


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