> Obviously, the paper can’t (and shouldn’t) just write periodic pieces saying, “Hey, just a reminder, here’s what the Inflation Reduction Act does,”

Honestly idk about this one? We're going into an election season and it feels like "Here's a review of the current President's economic policy, here's what got passed, what it did, and how it affected different demographics" feels like it would be a useful sort of roundup to have? Not that the press should act as the White House's PR team, but it feels like an occasional short, just-the-facts explainer might be a useful thing to publish.

As far as the other thing goes, I feel like the bottom line is that Trump sold a lot of papers and much of the media wants him back for that reason. I suspect that factors into the decision to But Her Emails Biden into oblivion over misreading a teleprompter an having a stutter.

Expand full comment

Spot on, Parker.

FWIW, the New York Times has gone to sh** even more lately than they've been for a number of years now. They're VERY clearly chasing the quiet MAGA base of some of their more wealthy right-wing subscribers, while ignoring & even alienating their traditional base - or what we used to call in radio 'Chasing P2s (secondary audience) while tripping over P1s (primary audience)."

That's rarely a good strategy and almost always ends in disaster. Yet the NYTimes seems all in on it.

Expand full comment
Feb 12·edited Feb 12

What I remember about the media's coverage of the IRA was months and months of "Dems in disarray" coverage, focusing on whether Joe Manchin would allow it to pass. Almost none of this coverage gave details of what was actually in the bill, just "Will he or won't he?" Then it passed, and I think we got about two days of "Oh, by the way, here's what's in it." And then silence. Probably because the "drama" had moved on to something else.

But I'll also say - and this is definitely NOT in defense of the Times reporting - that the kind of people you'll meet at a New York Cocktail party are not likely to be beneficiaries of this legislation. If the IRA and CHIPS act and other legislation has an effect on the election, it will primarily be through the people the legislation directly benefits - although it's also likely that many of those people won't know why they're benefiting. Sigh.

Expand full comment

NYT economics reporter: I don’t write about economic policy because i am not a shill for the government.

Me: actually you should write about economic policy BECAUSE IT’S YOUR JOB!

Expand full comment

I think I'm realizing what national reporters of the Times/WaPo/CNN Contributor Ilk are: they are essentially poorly paid consultants.

Consultant Brain = I can bullshit a powerpoint deck on every topic under the sun in a few weeks because I went to Yale and EY pays me six figures so I must be smart.

Haberman Brain = I am a wise observer on all things and I can sit in twitter or on the CNN set and pass judgement on how dumb Americans are but somehow I am also not responsible for informing them also because they are dumb. Also I am very impartial even though anyone under 35 knows that it is impossible and dumb to think any journalist is actual impartial in the year 2024.

There is a pretty big venn diagram overlap here!

Expand full comment

Not surprised that a New York Times reporter is responding to any criticism with “HOW DARE YOU!”

Expand full comment

Maybe what ties these stories together is that old saw, "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations." So a positive story about trans youth who have successfully transitioned or a positive story about a new electric-car-battery plant being built due to tax breaks and subsidies in the IRA would be "Public Relations", now if there were some problem with the IRA that the Biden administration did NOT want you to know about, they'd go into full Woodward & Bernstein mode.

If you want to see the opposite approach, our cable network has a 24 hour news channel called Spectrum News, and they'll do a story on practically anything that they get in a press release. If your city has a new program that helps homeless people or troubled teens or your library got a grant for an expansion or the local pharmacy just celebrated 50 years in business, they'll send over a reporter and do a story on it. And honestly, I find it a relief from all the other news I get in the day. There are lots of good people in this world who do good things every day, don't they deserve some recognition too?

Expand full comment

Most voters don't follow policy debates or legislation. Thus, for as long as I've been alive - a looong time - Dems always complain that their candidates aren't getting their message out by hyping their accomplishments. For you youngsters, you may remember this was a big criticism of Obama; he even mentioned failure at messaging as a cause of his low approval numbers.

While I agree that the NYT and the rest of the press should devote more space to policy, 90% of the folks who will actually read it, will do so because they're interested in it. The 90% includes most of the folks here. Of course, the fact that we're interested is the reason we know what Biden's done despite the press's failings. If everybody was like us - avid news and politics junkies who devote a lot of time and mental effort (and agita, o the agita!) to keeping up - it would be a very different world. I have no idea if it would be better or worse.

Expand full comment

Libbies have grown so entitled to the mainstream press being a Democrat political propaganda machine that any effort for these businesses to pull back to just reporting the news (to save their actual business) is worthy of rage against the machine.

It reminds me of a drug addict. Try to take away the drugs and rage will happen.

Expand full comment

More and more often, I am reminded "Citizen Kane" came out 83 years ago; premiered 05 September 1941. Just seven years later, 03 November 1948, Chicago Daily Tribune had optimistically printed "Dewey Defeats Truman".

Expand full comment