"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, September 12, 2003
 
The Sun prints a letter today from one Seth Halpern of Scarsdale, NY. Mr. Halpern, it seems, is worried about the fate of one Jonathan Pollard, an object of devotion for SethAndIra – and, incidentally, a spy who was convicted of turning over American state secrets.

Mr. Halpern writes:
Given the government’s power to determine what ought to be secret and for how long, [the prosecution’s Pollard affidavit] amounted to a request for carte blanche to imprison national security offenders indefinitely, based not on their actual crimes but on their potentially dangerous knowledge. If this sounds familiar, it is because much the same reasoning has been employed by communist regimes when imprisoning or restricting the emigration of persons possessing all manner of “state secrets.”

Strong stuff there. You may remember, if you are prone to self-abuse, the idiotorial that Mr. Halpern is responding to. In it, SethAndIra argued, bizarrely, that opponents of the Patriot Act and the other assorted Bush malAdministration power grabs should be lining up to support Pollard. The unstated, and no doubt unintentional, corollary of this argument being that SethAndIra are actually on the side of civil liberties in the struggle against Ashcroft and his merry band of brownshirts, if only the other side would take up Pollard’s cause. Heh, heh…right.

I have no intention of holding Mr. Halpern to the same (low, low, low) standard I would apply to writers in the New York Sun, but I do have to point out that the very tactics he sees “employed by the communist regimes” are being routinely employed, as we speak, by the American government. Though, I should say, mostly on a satellite base on an island controlled by a Communist government.

Not only that, but the Bushies want to restrict internal travel by those deemed dangerous by a computer, another high-tech borrowing from the “communist regimes.” So which is it, SethAndIra? Let Pollard go, and do away with this bogus national security argument that keep so many in judicial limbo forever? Or is the American government employing the tactics of “communist regimes”?

Be very afraid, Ira. Communiss, communiss everywhere. As for Mr. Halpern, maybe the Sun should hire him. His unintentional damning of the Bush administration is hilarious and paranoid enough he would fit right in.

Thursday, September 11, 2003
 

Seth Lipsky rides a bomb to oblivion.
Ira Stool, whom Seth ordinarily rides, was
presumably unavailable for mounting

Choosing battles isn't just a luxury of SethAndIra's, with their "news" paper not even comprising 20 pages, it's a necessity. One wonders then why two "men" confronted with such a paucity of space would want to cram it past capacity with utter crap.

Having registered their appreciation for the good works of Enoch Powell and Al Jolson previously, the Sun today commemorates the passing of Edward Teller. The Sunnis, of course, heap great praise on the man who fled the Nazis and confronted the "Soviet menace." A great shame that someone who escaped the Holocaust could only but devise the means for limitless holocaust - and proselytize on behalf of those means. With their game theorist enablers, the Tellers of the world demonstrated just how great the human capacity for depravity is, and it seems no small miracle in retrospect that we've thus far escaped one of his glorious little weapons being let loose on the world.

But we are ultimately not surprised that the Berks enthuse as they do over squandred resources and grossly misapplied brilliance. After all, Midwood Fats et al invested in the Sun to the tune of $20 million, and some talented reporters have alas found themselves elaborating SethAndIra barbaric prejudices.
 
Idiot Michael Ledeen:

“TWO YEARS OF PEACE IN NEW YORK

“Two years later, and there’s a lot to cheer about. Saddam is gone. The Taliban are gone, and music has returned to Afghanistan. The Middle East is in turmoil [we’re supposed to cheer about this??], as the tyrannical terror masters in Riyadh, Tehran, and Damascus face the possibility that they are doomed to fall, either at our hands or at the hands of their own people. Here at home the big news is what hasn’t happened: they haven’t killed any more Americans.”

I would remind Ledunce that, until two years ago, they hadn’t killed "any more" Americans for eight years. Of course, even this tool has to admit that, sure, some of our troops (many of them American, it has been reported) have been killed, but still, they weren't in America!

Oddly, neither Seth nor Ira care to address the happenings of two years ago on their idiotorial page, leaving the duty to JP “Fipp” Avlon. Obviously, they decided they needed someone with some writing experience.


ONLINE EDITION HEADLINE IF THE DAY

“Employment Of Top City Education Ocial’s Husband Is Investigated”
 
The Sun eulogizes Edward Teller, father of the American hydrogen bomb, on their idiotorial page today. Well, they sort of eulogize. Actually, they use the passing of a distinguished scientist to make a hollow, vapid, ideological point.

The death of Teller moved SethAndIra so much, apparently, that they spent a few minutes on their web browsers researching his life. Citing only CNN.com and “a Web page memorializing him from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory,” the Chambers Street idiots push the point that he lived, “a life full of foresight as to what was necessary to provide for the proper defense of America.” The Sunnis buttress that point with this: “ In the 1980s, it was Teller who convinced President Reagan that a missile defense system was unavoidable.”

This point struck me as odd. So I did a little bit of actual research, digging into my copy of “Way Out There in the Blue,” Frances FitzGerald’s remarkable history of the missile defense program. From page 121:
In reality, [Senator Malcolm] Wallop, [General Daniel] Graham and Teller did not inspire Reagan with their technical enthusiasms or persuade him to make the 1983 [“Star Wars”] speech, though they tried hard enough….

Of the three strategic-defense advocates, it would be hard to say which was the most committed and the most persistent, but Senator Wallop was the first off the mark and the first to present his idea to Reagan.

So much for all that. A little more nuance, perhaps, and far less convenient for their ideological agenda, but a more truthful picture of a time when a broad spectrum of people was trying to bring Reagan around to missile defense.

It never seems to penetrate the conservative mind that Reagan hated nuclear weapons. He thought them morally evil, and even agreed in principal with Gorbachev to ban them outright, after having called for their eradication early in his presidency. His handlers pulled him back. His policy was one of arms reduction, as well as missile defense. And the Soviets were only happy enough to let the Americans throw their money away on a missile defense program they knew wouldn’t work. Reagan also, correctly, saw the rot in the Soviet system, although historical evidence indicates he did not understand that rot as well as Gorbachev or the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, Andrei Sakharov.

But we are talking about Edward Teller here. He led a historically significant, interesting life, which is only worth anything to SethAndIra (no doubt Ira; the idiotorial’s prose smacks of his incompetence) insofar as he was a figure for their pet agenda. Disgraceful.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003
 
Creep Ira Stoll has been slowly creeping down, down, down the front page as his dispatches become more and more laughable. Today he gives us a glimpse of his journalistic genius, offering up a “report” on the Democratic debate last night, entitled – get this – “Democrats Exaggerate in Debate.”

Lacking any real substance to go with his bizarre headline, Stoolie conjures up these rhetorical crimes:
“You would be hard pressed to find any country in the world where people want to be like Americans,” said Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, in his concluding statement. But a survey released in June by the Pew Global Attitudes project found, “Majorities in 33 of the 44 nations surveyed feel that people are better off in a free-market economy, even if that leads to disparities in wealth and income.” The survey found, “By and large…the people of the world accept the concepts and values that underlie the American approach to governance and business.”

Dr. Dean also claimed last night, “I’m the only white politician that ever talks about race in front of white audiences.” But plenty of other politicians talk about race in front of white audiences. President Clinton, for example, in his 1997 inaugural address, said, “The divide of race has been America’s constant curse.”

Dr. Dean wasn’t the only Democrat offering stretchers. Senator Lieberman referred to the “denial” that President Bush’s “team carried out in Florida for African American voters who were trying to elect Al Gore and me.” But the New York Times, in a front-page article examining Rev. Jesse Jackson’s claim of “a systematic plan” to disenfranchise black voters, concluded, “That accusation is unproven.”

Shameless! What next? Will the Democrats claim that global warming is real? Note two oddities in these very odd paragraphs: (a) Stoolie offers as a counter to Dean’s race claim Clinton’s 1997 inaugural address, and by that makes the telling implication that the address was to a “white audience”; (b) Ira, who has made a shabby career out of bashing the Times, takes the Times’s word on the (very real, but hard to prove) systematic disenfranchisement of the black vote in Florida. (Read Ira’s sentence carefully; note it doesn’t make “sense.”)

“They may not involve matters as grave as leading America into war,” Ira concedes, conceding that his “readers” will no doubt be dumb enough not to draw that conclusion on their own.

Funny thing about fibbing – SethAndIra don’t seem to mind it too much when it actually matters. On the idiotorial page they take Senator Clinton to task for holding up the nomination of Bush’s latest EPA flunky in protest of the way the Bush administration systematically misled the public about the safety of the air after September 11, 2001.
What, exactly, would Mrs. Clinton have had the White House do? Should Mr. Bush have done his utmost to set off a panic in the already economically devastated neighborhood? Even the EPA inspector general’s report, on which Mrs. Clinton relies, states that, “Because of numerous uncertainties — including the extent of the public’s exposure and a lack of healthbased benchmarks — a definitive answer to whether the air was safe to breathe may not be settled for years to come.” Mrs. Clinton argues that we have to be able to trust our government most in times of crisis. But to refrain from erring on the side of alarmism in a time of crisis was no doubt the right decision. New Yorkers had greater concerns, as did the nation.

This odious paragraph reveals much about the Sunnis and their utter stupidity. What, exactly, could Bush have done to set off more panic in New York City that week? As I recall, there was a lot of it. Rather than tell the truth – “We don’t know” – the Bushies decided to lie, and put the long-term health of a great many people at risk because of that lie. Read this (via Atrios). The revisionist argument that they did it to maintain order is pure cant. They did it to keep the stock market open, in the vain hope that somehow Wall Street could cure Bush’s horrible economic record.

“New Yorkers had greater concerns,” bloviate the two non-New Yorkers, “as did the nation.” Presumably, based on the Sun’s worldview, these greater concerns consisted of cutting taxes, school vouchers, and seizing Iraqi oil wells.

Apparently it is wrong to exaggerate on such pressing issues as a survey by the Pew Global Attitudes project, but just fine with these dipshits who call themselves New Yorkers to lie to New Yorkers about the safety of New Yorkers. What a loathsome “newspaper.”
 
We love to hear from our readers, one of whom write in to say that I was too harsh on Luiza Chwialkowska the other day, specifically that her piece did not resemble a Republican press release, and that I should leave her personal life out of discussions of her work. I hereby apologize. Ms. Chwialkowska's article did not resemble a GOP press release; she used complete sentences, there were no ethnic slurs, she didn't mention Bill Clinton, and there was only one piece of wrong information (that part about the Republicans possibly picking up Senate seats in Illinois and Alaska). Further, I won't discuss Ms. Chwialkowska's personal life any more. (I did so only because I enjoyed the fact that she obviously wanted to be in the news business from an early age; how depressing it must be to find herself at the Sun.) But I will point out that I did write that Ms. Chwialkowska has the makings of a fine reporter; she just needs to get to a paper with absolutely no connections to Lord Black of Carbuncleshamswoodsquire.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
 
Reports of the demise of SniderTimes were, it appears, premature. Not even bothering to box Ira Stool’s whining on page 2 anymore, the Sun just prints his infantile whimpers as editorials.

Today the Sunnis waste precious editorial column space (well, maybe not so precious, as they waste most of the space on yet – yet, yet – another school voucher rant) taking the New York Times, an actual newspaper, to task for one off-hand comment made in the Sunday Metro Section. [See the posting of my able colleague, Mr. Olivier, below.]

A news article in the metro section of Sunday’s New York Times made reference to a local billionaire. It said he “has the mandatory (for a mogul) blond second wife.”
The rich are one of the few groups left in America that it’s still acceptable for the Times to stereotype negatively. In this case, however, the facts don’t bear out the stereotype.

Ignoring the agonizing groans of “who cares?” emanating from whatever unfortunate soul opened the Sun this morning, Ira goes on to spell out “the facts,” which, as they turn out, relate to the marital success of millionaires, and not billionaires.
So much for the myth of the mandatory second wife. As for the blondness issue, we’ve yet to see any definitive survey data. But we look forward to the day when the Times starts judging women, even rich, married ones, not by the color of their hair but by the content of their character.

Thus the Sun concludes, in a deeply gratifying moment of justice for wronged trophy wives everywhere.

Why SethAndIra would choose to waste their column space thus should come as no mystery to Sun-Spotters – after all, the criminally incompetent duo are fed their daily bread by the hands of their wealthy patrons. “We must defend the rich, no matter how foolish it makes us look!” they cry.

And the Times story in question, far from focusing on the marrying habits of billionaires, was about Edward Stern, whose Canary Capital Partners worked out a plea deal with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for their financial shenanigans. At the time of Canary’s plea, SethAndIra, in an idiotorial, took the customary rip at Spitzer while claiming, “We carry no brief one way or another for the hedge fund Canary Capital Partners LLC, or its managing principal, Edward Stern.” Apparently something changed. Perhaps that something is to be found in the Times piece, which quotes a familiar pair of very big briefs, Michael Steinhardt, defending Stern. “He didn’t keep it hidden; people knew what he did. Like all of us who try to achieve superior returns, he was trying to find some niche.”

Oh, what favors they do for their patrons. Aside from occasionally printing press releases on behalf of Little Dick Perle, or taking potshots at an actual newspaper's profile of an investor's buddy, they also give their investors’ spouses a place to mouth off. And so it is Bring Your Wives to Work Day at the Sun, with both Barbara “Lady Black” Amiel and Amity Shlaes publishing drivel on the op-id page.

“In all probability, [Bush] simply ran into Tolstoy’s law about great leaders: ‘Every act of theirs, which appears to them an act of their own will, is in a historical sense involuntary,’” Miss Barbara says, on her way to adding, “The war itself was a necessary act on behalf of the civilized world.”

All of which make her sound more like a Marxist than a…whatever it is she is supposed to be. Amiel concludes that, “The administration should ignore its own State Department and assist the Iraqi exiles who were vilified and sidelined too long.” By “exiles” I assume she is referring to the Chalabi racket, which has been propped up mightily by the Defense Department despite an absolute lack of Iraqi interest. Oh, yeah, and Mrs. Black thinks we should give Iraq over to a friendly dictator, too.
The Kurds want Kurdistan, and most Shiites want a Shia priestdom with strong relations with Iran. The Sunnis have divided ambitions. The majority of Iraqis may well not want an outright theocracy, but there is little indication that they want a Western-style democracy. Nor is it in America’s interests to establish a regime that does not come naturally to the people.

Let me just be blunt – Barbara Amiel knows fuck-all about what Iraqis want.

Shlaes, on the other hand, knows what the people of Alabama want. “The [Ten Commandments] monument first of all reminds us that some decisions are properly made not by judges but by voters, such as those who elected Justice Moore,” she whines, on her way to arguing, inexplicably, that the Nuremberg trials corrupted American jurisprudence. I’m not kidding. She does.
Judges have become like priests, glorifying the freedom of non-religious expression even as they restrict genuinely religious speech and suppress religious references. Today, mayors are helpless to protect citizens when pornographers open shops on their high streets — the pornographer’s rights trump those of the voters.

This last point proving that she is just as much a New Yorker as her husband, editor and president Seth Lipsky. Hey, Amity – ever hear of the Giuliani administration? Times Square? You know, there wasn’t always an ESPN Zone there.

And so we can all hope the time will come when the Sun starts “judging women,” even those married to ideological, talentless fucks, not by whose rock is on their finger, but by the content of their horrible, horrible prose.
 


"Babs ain't blond, but man she's a demon of a second wife!"



Another dreary issue of the New York Sun, with yet another Stool sample left out in the open at page one. As a concession to the prospect of serious circulation if not public health you'd think Seth would bury that shit, but no. Ira's unilluminating front page non-stories continue to pollute public discourse and the city's newsstands.

The Sun today deigns to take note of women. Actually, it takes self-righteous note of a New York Times piece which says billionaire Leonard Stern "has the mandatory (for a mogul) blond second wife." Ira (it had to be Ira; even Seth couldn't come up with something this insipid) cites a survey that shows millionaires have a lower incidence of divorce than the population at large, thus dispensing with "the myth of the mandatory second wife." He allows though that he's yet to see the survey data re: blondness, but feels anyway that the Times is somehow sexist. "We look forward to a day when the Times starts judging women, even rich, married ones, not by the color of their hair but by the content of their character." The piece that Ira objects to was of course authored by Ms. Leslie Eaton, presumably a woman, but we've yet to see any definitive physiological data.

Ira, you stupid fucking cunt, you idiot...

Remind us to ask Joanna Hishon about the durability of marriages entered into by the ultra-rich. Perhaps Sun columnist/homewrecker Lady Blackguard of Drossharbour Barbara Amiel would like to speak in her proxy.

Monday, September 08, 2003
 
"A terrorist is not simply one who carries a gin or a bomb," Jorge Rafael Videla once noted. If that were all there were to it, the WMD-less Saddam Hussein would fail the test. Luckily for SethAndIra, Videla, a progenitor of Stollism, expanded: "A terrorist is also someone who spreads ideas that are contrary to western civilization." This formulation would gain in popularity in later years, with Little Ricky Perle as its most prominent adherant. SethAndIra, toiling in anonymity and squalor down on Chambers Street, are far less visible in their support, though they compensate with unashamed and shameful enthusiasm.

Seized by such idiocy, Seth sits down to pen "Iraq and Vietnam [sic]," today's leading SpEditorial. Predicatbly and tediously, Lipsky runs through his repertoire. He tells us yet again how it was the fault of treasonous hippies that "the Free World" - he capitalizes in this instance but not in another. I ask, Good Sir, WETS?! - lost its war in Indochina. He harangues on the need to "take this war to the enemy's ground." He makes typographical errors ("...and when President [sic] George W. Bush took American into the current war..." WETS?).

But most remarkably, he introduces this formidable tangle:
"No one is arguing that the attacks that took place on September 11 two years ago are the figments of Pentagon warmongers, the way the left argued the Tonkin Gulf incidents were fiction. Nor if one believes the latest polls are Americans prepared to credit Governor Dean's blythe [sic: WETS?] assertions that Saddam's Iraq was broadly uninvolved in the terror that engulfed our shores two years ago. More than 70% understand it completely."
Though his scribble seems to say that 70% agree with Dr. Dean, Seth is presumably referring to this poll.

Though he says nothing of this poll. Or this one.

Though belief that Iraq had and used WMDs or that angels exist is nowhere near as fantastic as the conception of western civilization that Seth Lipsky demands be protected from the outrages of Global Islamofascist Terror. The idea that the charter school, the settlement, and the tax cut for the ultra-wealthy afford the moral clarity to take the fight to "The Arabs?" Now that's some crazy shit.

Sunday, September 07, 2003
 
With the blissful coming of the weekend, and two straight days without the Sun’s putrid output, now is as good a time as any to sit back, relax, and enjoy the latest installment of…

Story Time with Seth and Ira

This goodie comes to me from several sources, all of whom have verified that it happened as told below.

It seems that at some point a few months into the Sun’s miserable life, there was widespread muttering among the more talented of the Sun’s reporters about the reckless and wanton politicization of their hard work. Ignoring facts or even a thin veneer of objectivity, the reporters complained, SethAndIra tried to turn every news story that came across their paths into the latest arrow in their ideological quiver.

Real journalists don’t like this. While to Sun-spotters this wholesale disregard for journalistic integrity will come as no surprise, at the time, according to sources, it was still believed that perhaps SethAndIra could be made to amend their ways.

So a meeting was convened with all of the writing staff, one of the few that has ever really been held in the Sun’s offices. Seth Lipsky half-listened for about twelve seconds to the well-founded complaints of his staff, and then the room got quiet.

Then Seth asked the room something along the lines of, “Have any of you ever read Mark Twain’s story ‘Journalism in Tennessee’?” Seth went on to gush about the story for a moment. Then he made some poor charge of his dig up the story from Seth’s files somewhere.

And then he made said poor charge sit and, for about the next twenty minutes, read the entirety of the Mark Twain story to the shocked, restless room. With deadlines to meet and copy (presumably) to be edited, the staff sat in dumb silence as the story was read aloud. A link to Twain’s story “Journalism in Tennessee” can be found here.

Stuart Marques, the Sun’s news director, by the telling of one of my sources, “Literally – literally – had steam coming out of his ears.” With the end of the story, Seth sat back satisfied, and gave the very clear indication that the discussion was over. The staff sat shocked – Seth had just defended his journalistic crimes by having one of his staff read aloud a nearly 150-year-old piece of fiction.

Here is an excerpt from Twain’s story:
I passed my manuscript over to the chief editor for acceptance, alteration, or destruction. He glanced at it and his face clouded. He ran his eye down the pages, and his countenance grew portentous. It was easy to see that something was wrong. Presently he sprang up and said—

“Thunder and lightning! Do you suppose I am going to speak of those cattle that way? Do you suppose my subscribers are going to stand such gruel as that? Give me the pen!”

I never saw a pen scrape and scratch its way so viciously, or plow through another man’s verbs and adjectives so relentlessly. While he was in the midst of his work, somebody shot at him through the open window, and marred the symmetry of my ear.

“Ah,” said he, “that is that scoundrel Smith, of the Moral Volcano—he was due yesterday.” And he snatched a navy revolver from his belt and fired. Smith dropped, shot in the thigh. The shot spoiled Smith’s aim, who was just taking a second chance, and he crippled a stranger. It was me. Merely a finger shot off.
Then the chief editor went on with his erasures and interlineations. Just as he finished them a hand- grenade came down the stove-pipe, and the explosion shivered the stove into a thousand fragments. However, it did no further damage, except that a vagrant piece knocked a couple of my teeth out.

“That stove is utterly ruined,” said the chief editor.

I said I believed it was.

“Well, no matter—don’t want it this kind of weather. I know the man that did it. I’ll get him. Now, here is the way this stuff ought to be written.”
I took the manuscript. It was scarred with erasures and interlineations till its mother wouldn’t have known it if it had had one.

You should go and read the rest of it, if for no other reason than because anything Twain wrote is basically worth a look. But to base your ethics on this one story – or at the very least to give a disgruntled newsroom this one story as the justification for the pillage of their work – strikes me as irresponsible at best.

Any close reading of the story would reveal what Seth obviously doesn’t seem to get. Twain’s story satirizes people like Seth, completely makes fun of them; it does not lionize them. The chief editor in this story is not man of skill. He is an ass.

And that, boys and girls, concludes today’s Story Time with Seth and Ira.

 

 
   
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