Tag: Hack Journalism

Not This Sh%$ Again

Once again, we have hand wringing from the “Very Serious People” that a declining population is the end of the world.

This time; it’s China, and this time, according to the appropriately hysterical tech reporter, population decline will destroy the country.

In fact, they don’t say HOW this would destroy the country, it just self-evidently bad.

While it is true that having more elderly people and fewer working age people places demands on the funding of old age benefits, if there are fewer working age people, their pay goes up, because there is a smaller supply of labor.

That is why (as I have not infrequently noted) the black death was followed by skyrocketing wages and productivity from most of the population of Europe.

The continued drop in new births is a ticking time bomb for Beijing. Fewer births means less labor force supply, which in turn adds to the pressure on a pension system that relies on contributions from the working population. China had 254 million elderly residents aged 60 or above in 2019, according to the statistics bureau—that’s 18% of the whole population of 1.4 billion.

That number is expected to expand to 300 million by 2025, according to China’s ministry of civil affairs. Some research suggests a bleak conclusion: China’s state pension scheme could run out of funding by 2035 due to the shrinking workforce. That would be a huge issue for the Party, whose top priority is to maintain social stability.

The workers’ pension payments go up by 10%, and their wages go up by 20%, and everyone, wins, except, perhaps for Foxconn and its ilk, who see wage pressures cut into their profits.

Certainly, there are accommodations to be made, like making the workplace friendlier to older workers in addition to increasing taxes, but it’s not the end of the world.

Tweet of the Day

Larry Hogan is still Governor of Maryland, but TBF Covid is blocking Tom’s primary source of information – a humble taxi driver with sharp geopolitical insights. pic.twitter.com/URQgqNx0OV

— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) January 25, 2021

Just so you know, as New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and columnist Tom Friedman does not, Larry Hogan is still governor of Maryland, where Friedman lives.

Seriously, Tom “The Mustache of Inanity” Friedman has finally exceeded the capacity for others to mock him.

Maybe he should get a Pulitzer for self-mockery.

Today in Schadenfreude

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Alex Jones can be sued for libel by parents of the Sandy Hook mass shooting victims.  (Also various other sundry people that he accused of being false flag actors)

It was enough of a slam dunk that they did not even bother to write an opinion:

An empire built on conjecture, conspiracy and a series of fake homeopathic cures for various ailments stands to be sued into oblivion after a Friday ruling by the Supreme Court of Texas.

Without comment, the Lone Star State’s highest civil court found that America’s foremost conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, and his flagship media outlet, InfoWars, are subject to liability in four separate defamation lawsuits filed over the past two-plus years. Those lawsuits were filed by parents of children who were killed during the Sandy Hook massacre and by a man Jones and his network falsely identified as the perpetrator of the Parkland massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


Immediately after the 2012 shooting that left 20 children and six teachers dead in Newtown, Connecticut, Jones used his by-then vast platform to spread the idea that the murders were part of a “false flag” operation meant to scare the population into giving up their guns and Second Amendment rights. Jones also smeared the parents of the dead children, calling them “crisis actors.” None of those claims were true but the pernicious ideas gained traction among the easily-influenced.


“Our clients have been tormented for five years by Mr. Jones’ ghoulish accusations that they are actors who faked their children’s deaths as part of a fraud on the American people,” Bankston said in a statement at the time, “Enough is enough.”


Marcel Fontane, a Massachusetts resident who has never been to Florida, also sued Jones and InfoWars during the spring of 2018 after being singled out by Jones and InfoWars reporter Kit Daniels–falsely accusing him of being the Parkland shooter in a vain attempt to link the massacre to the political far-left. The outlet also published a photograph of Fontaine wearing a satirical t-shirt depicting several former Communist historical figures.

Here’s hoping that they take him for all he has.

To quote Billie Ray Velentine from the movie Trading Places, “You know, it occurs to me that the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.”

H/t Ecop at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

Megan McCain, Communist

McCain: “I started getting angry that conservatives in particular, given we are the party of family values.. that we are leaving women in this country without the capacity and ability to heal physically [after childbirth]”

— Emily Peck (@EmilyRPeck) January 4, 2021


It’s axiomatic that conservatives suddenly become liberals when the business of governing touches upon them and theirs.

We saw this with Sandra Day O’Connor, where her reputation for moderation was better described by narcissism:  If she had been effected by it, whether it be sexism or reproductive rights, she was suddenly moderate.

About people who weren’t her, and did not look like her or live a life like her, it’s back to conservatism.

And now we see Meghan McCain doing the same thing.

After having a baby, she realizes that there needs to be some sort of regulation mandating paid maternity leave.

Socialism for me, and capitalism for thee.

If you are morally incapable of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes unless it happened to you, you might be a conservative.

This Is the Most Depressing Statement about Modern Journalism I Have Ever Heard

Dean Baquet is one of the biggest threats to journalism right now, but everyone in a position to report on him wants a job from him. https://t.co/JsgUd30IlS

— Tentin Quarantino (@agraybee) December 19, 2020

Dean Banquet said the following about being taken in by a transparent fraud by a phony “Isis executioner“.

We fell in love with the fact that we had gotten a member of ISIS who would describe his life in the caliphate and would describe his crimes ……… I think we were so in love with it that when we saw evidence that maybe he was a fabulist, when we saw evidence that he was making some of it up, we didn’t listen hard enough.

In essence, Dean Banquet was quoting the Mason Williams song The Exciting Accident, which states, “This is not a true tale, but who needs truth if it’s dull.”

While this is fine for Williams, song writer, comedian, photographer, poet, and photographer to do in a song, it is not the proper attitude for the editor in chief of the what is arguably most prestigious newspaper in the United States. (Though each year that Banquet is there this status seems increasingly precarious)

Speaking of Privilege………

In the 1990s, there were a whole series of Wunderkind at The New Republic, Ruth Shalit and Stephen Glass who were later revealed to be fabulists and/or plagiarists.

The fact that the magazine was a disaster under the ownership of racist Marty Peretz, is of little interest today, except for the fact that Ruth Shalit, now Ruth Shalit Barrett, is still getting her stories into prominent publications.

In this case, it was The Atlantic which published an article from her about parents getting their children into fencing to get them into top flight schools.

It turns out that it was (once again)  she made sh%$ up.

Seriously, if you are a white person who went to the Ivy League, you are the equivalent of  a “Made Man” in the Mafia.

It’s the only explanation as to why she gets any non-fiction writing now:

The Atlantic on Sunday took the extraordinary step of retracting an article by Ruth Shalit Barrett, who was a rising young political reporter in the 1990s when accusations of plagiarism derailed her career as an associate editor at The New Republic.

“We cannot attest to the trustworthiness and credibility of the author, and therefore we cannot attest to the veracity of the article,” The Atlantic said in an editor’s note that it updated on Sunday night.

The buzzy article, which was published online last month and appears in the magazine’s November print edition, chronicles a world of wealthy parents in the Connecticut suburbs obsessed with prodding their children into niche sports like fencing, crew and squash in hopes of getting them into Ivy League schools.

In the editor’s note, The Atlantic said that its fact-checking department had thoroughly rechecked the article, which was more than 6,000 words, speaking with more than 40 sources and independently corroborating information.

“But we now know that the author misled our fact-checkers, lied to our editors, and is accused of inducing at least one source to lie to our fact-checking department,” the note said. “We believe that these actions fatally undermined the effectiveness of the fact-checking process. It is impossible for us to vouch for the accuracy of this article. This is what necessitates a full retraction. We apologize to our readers.”

The Atlantic, went so far as listing her name as, “Ruth S. Barrett,” as the byline, because, after all, she went to Princeton.

I get that Shalit is a talented writer, but why any editor would ever publish her in non-fiction is a marker of just how dysfunctional the current caste system is in the united states.

I may be the, “Worst Writer on the Internet,” but I would be a better choice for any reporting, because I don’t make sh%$ up. (Though I freely admit that my ideology can seem a bit deranged at times, and this this would necessarily shape my coverage.)

All the News That’s Fit to Print, Huh?

It seems to be a routine thing. Some New York Times reporter goes on safari and conduct man on the street interviews, and many of these so-called “Ordinary Folk” are actually Republican operatives.

This happens over, and over, and over again.

This is not accidental.  This is baked into the culture: 

The New York Times has been caught, once again, passing off Republican operatives as “regular” Republican voters in an article intended to show how effectively Trump is maintaining his support.

It raises serious questions about whether Times editor and reporters, rather than actually trying to determine how voters feel, are setting out to find people to mouth the words they need for predetermined story lines that, not coincidentally, echo the Trump campaign’s propaganda.

In the latest case, an article posted on Wednesday headlined “Around Atlanta, Many White Suburbanites Are Sticking With Trump” by Times national reporter Elaina Plott initially misidentified two of the four allegedly run-of-the-mill voters who supported the article’s thesis: That Trump’s unfounded fear-mongering along the lines that “ANTIFA THUGS WILL RUIN THE SUBURBS!” is working.

The lead anecdote came courtesy of Natalie Pontius, who was simply identified as “an interior decorator, married with two children and a University of Georgia alumna.”


Pontius, it turns out, was a paid political consultant for a Republican candidate for Georgia’s House of Representatives in 2018.

Plott also quoted Jake Evans, initially identified simply as “an attorney in Atlanta.”


Evans, it turns out, chairs the state’s branch of the Republican National Lawyers Association, is the immediate past president of the Atlanta Young Republicans, is a member of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s election-security task force — and he’s the son of Randy Evans, a Republican heavy-hitter rewarded by Trump with a cushy gig as ambassador to Luxembourg.

And this isn’t the first Times story like this to feature ringers. In a notorious June 2018 story by political reporter Jeremy Peters – headlined “As Critics Assail Trump, His Supporters Dig In Deeper,” the supposedly ordinary Republican woman in the lead anecdote turned out to be a board member of an ultra-conservative PAC.


Because the fact that the reporter couldn’t find real people to support its thesis suggests that she was assigned to produce precisely the story she did. (So does the URL, which I suspect reflects the editor’s original “slug” for the story: “atlanta-trump-voters-women.”)


This, I’m afraid, is Dean Baquet’s newsroom in a nutshell, where the anachronistic notion of “objectivity” is horribly misapplied to produce both-sides stenography instead of calling out liars and racists.


Going forward, readers deserve to know exactly how the reporters found their way to the “average” people they quote, to judge for themselves how typical or atypical they may be. How many people did the reporters talk to before they found the person they needed for their story? What questions did they ask?

And finally, I need to bring up a point I’ve made repeatedly before: Simply quoting Trump supporters who mouth crazy talking points (whether they’re ringers or not) is a terrible disservice to the reader.


The hero in this story is Charles Bethea, a New Yorker staff writer — and Twitter.

Bethea quickly recognized Jake Evans:

Here’s my 2018 mini-profile of Jake Evans, who is very much not a man-on-the-street. (Side note: Evans told me he was 31 years old in January of 2018, and NYT says he’s still 31 years old today. Not sure how that works.) https://t.co/jdfm4xmWdG

— Charles.Bethea (@charlesbethea) October 21, 2020

That’s because Bethea had actually written a short profile of Evans for the New Yorker in 2018, when Evans was president of the Atlanta Young Republicans.

Eventually, after sleuthing by Zach Kopplin, an investigator for the Government Accountability Project, and Georgia attorney Eric Teusink, Bethea also announced:

Wow: Natalie Pontius was a paid political consultant for a Republican candidate for GA House of Reps in 2018.
Yet she remains in the shortened but still misleading @nytimes story about voting in GA, described only as “an interior decorator” & UGA alumna. https://t.co/aBYhvmgJ0G https://t.co/c5UbZS8L4y pic.twitter.com/0leSKTCUeI

— Charles.Bethea (@charlesbethea) October 23, 2020

Seriously, there is something very toxic in the New York Times newsroom, and while Dean Baquet makes the problem worse, as an institution, it has rot at its bones.

The “Gray Lady” keeps screwing up these stories because senior editors send reporters into the field with the mission to serve predetermined narrative, and reporters know that.

The Real Petri Dish for Conspiracy Theories

Is anyone surprised that Fox News is where conspiracy theories get their wings:

We’ve discussed in the past Yochai Benkler’s excellent book “Network Propaganda,” (and had Benkler on our podcast) showing (with a ton of data) how the inclination many have to immediately blame social media for the spread of disinformation is, in its own way, misinformation itself. What the research found was that crazy conspiracy theories didn’t really spread as fast until they showed up on Fox News. That was basically the catalyst for them to then spread wildly on social media.

(Emphasis original)

I’m not particularly surprised.

Jon Stewart documented the Fox News bullsh%$ factory many years ago.

Burying the Lede

So, Gabriel Debenedetti of the New York Times has reviewed Michael Schmidt’s book, DONALD TRUMP V. THE UNITED STATES (Inside the Struggle to Stop a President).

What is interesting how this very chatty review completely buries the lede.

11 paragraphs, and this waits until the penultimate paragraph before this reveal:

More interesting, however, is the constant flow of shocking anecdotes: Schmidt writes that Mitch McConnell fell asleep during a classified briefing on Russia, for example, and he details the F.B.I.’s shambolic reaction to evidence of the hacking in 2016, including an unresolved disagreement over how to handle the material. Describing Trump’s unexpected November 2019 visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he reports the White House wanted Mike Pence “on standby to take over the powers of the presidency temporarily if Trump had to undergo a procedure that would have required him to be anesthetized.” (The vice president never had to take this step.)

(Emphasis mine)

How is an allegation that Trump had a medical emergency that sent him to Walter Reed, and then covered it up not the lede?

H/t Southpaw for tweeting this.

And Now, The Other Trolls are Leaving the Times

When James Bennet was finally defenestrated for going a troll to far for publishing Tom Cotton’s call to unleash the military on protesters, I wondered when the pet trolls that he hired would be out the door.

After all, both have horrible records on accuracy, as well as abusive behavior towards their cow-orkers at the New York Times.

Well, now we have an answer for Bari Weiss (יִמַּח שְׁמו), as about 5 weeks.

This is not a surprise. The Times staff found her toxic for doing things like excoriating real journalists at the paper, who were then forbidden by policy from responding, and reporting an editor for declining to have coffee with her.

Hoping that Bret “Bedbug” Stephens, who is if anything even more abusive in his behavior than Weiss, is not long for the paper either.

It is quite possible to hire conservative columnists who, though they might frequently misstate the facts (Brooks and Douthat come to mind) do not contribute to a toxic work environment.

No. Just No.

A group of what I can only describe of excessively woke photojournalists have proposed a, “Photo bill of rights,” which explicitly gives participants in protests to right to refuse to be photographs.

Let me be clear here: This is completely and totally wrong.

Anyone who allows the subject of their story to be dictated by their subject is not a journalist, they are a stenographer.

They are not talking about the coverage of private citizens in their private lives, they are talking about people engaged in public demonstrations to influence policy.

The question is simple: Would you give this right to a counter-protester who was a member of the Klu Klux Klan of a Neo-Nazi group?

The answer, of course, is no, not ever.

A new Photo Bill of Rights, inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current uprising against police brutality, has caused fissures in the American photojournalism community and raised an important question about “informed consent” in photographing protesters.


But the bill’s language about how photographers should use “informed consent,” especially in the context of the current protests against police brutality, has caused a stir among journalists:


At the latter organization, this has caused tensions. Photojournalist Noah Berger, who left the NPPA because it signed onto the bill of rights, said in a phone interview that it has long been understood that photographing people gathered in a public space for a protest has always been fair game, and that the language of the statement only furthers the right-wing smear that journalists are “fake news,” or an opposition movement.

This Exceeds my Capacity for Mockery

Movie intercuts are not a part of the newscast

Fox News was reporting on the Seattle Capitol Hill occupation, and unironically reported dialogue taken from Monty Python and the Holy Grail as evidence of growing tension within the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

Does the phrase, “We’re an Anarcho-Syndaclyst Commune,” sound familiar?


I am left staring at the screen like a cow that has just stepped on its own udder.

H/t Crooks and Liars.

Live by the Troll, Die by the Troll

Following the backlash soliciting and publishing an opinion piece from Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) where he called for the use of the active military to use lethal force against protesters, James Bennet has been fired as Opinion Editor.

They claim that this is a “resignation” but make no mistake, it was a firing.

Bennet thought that his role as editor was to publish cartoonish trolls for click-throughs, typified by his hiring of Bret “Bedbug” Stephens and Bari “Shanda fur die Goyim” Weiss.

He finally went a troll too far:

James Bennet resigned on Sunday from his job as the editorial page editor of The New York Times, days after the newspaper’s opinion section, which he oversaw, published a much-criticized Op-Ed by a United States senator calling for a military response to civic unrest in American cities.

“Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we’ve experienced in recent years,” said A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher, in a note to the staff on Sunday announcing Mr. Bennet’s departure.

In a brief interview, Mr. Sulzberger added: “Both of us concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change that is required.”

This is not what one calls a conciliatory statement.  Sulzberger basically called him out as incompetent when explaining why he was fired.


Here’s hoping that Stephens and Weiss head out the door as well, particularly the former, as Stephens has made it a practice to harry and intimidate anyone who criticizes him.  (Bedbug story here.)

This entire affair does appear to imply that the New York Times is a tremendously toxic place to work.

The New York Times has Turned Into a Complete Sh%$ Show

The New York Times published an OP/ED by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) that called for the activity military to come in to put down the anti-police brutality protests with guns blazing.

Needless to say, the Times staffers, prticularly those of color,  have completely lost their sh%$ over this, stating (correctly IMHO) that this put staffers, particularly staffers of color:

The internal fallout from the New York Times’ decision to run an op-ed by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, which called for the U.S. military to be deployed to American cities to crack down on protests against police killings of Black people, continued apace on Friday during a company all-hands meeting.

Publisher A.G. Sulzberger, Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Chief Operating Officer Meredith Levien all offered opening statements. But as always, the most informative parts of the meeting came from the lengthy question-and-answer portion. Staffers asked for an autopsy of the piece and how it was published; if company leaders were planning to address James Bennet’s leadership of the opinion section, which has had “several misfires”; whether Opinion staff editor and writer Bari Weiss would be fired for “openly bad mouth[ing] younger news colleagues on a platform where they, because of strict company policy, could not defend themselves”; whether the opinion section had suggested the topic of the op-ed to Cotton; and what the Times would do to help retain and support Black employees.

The newsroom first revolted Wednesday, shortly after the op-ed was published. Dozens of staffers tweeted a variation of the phrase “Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger,” along with a screenshot of the op-ed’s headline. The paper’s union put out a statement about the column as well.

In a development that can only be described as mind boggling, Bennet said that, “He had not read Mr. Cotton’s essay before it was published,” even though it is clear from the Times own account that there was extensive review and editing from inside the editorial division.

Fire Editor-in-Chief Dean Banquet and Opinion Editor James Bennet, and for good measure, have them take Bret “Bedbug” Stevens, whose hobby appears to be threatening reporters on the news side of the paper, with them.

Well, Now We Know What Ends Both-Siderism Among Journalists

All you have to do to make them look at the actual facts is to put them in the line of fire.

Then, suddenly the press sees that out of control cops are out of control cops.

It really sucks that the only way to get the press to stop it’s lazy equivalencies is to actually physically harm them.

This is not indicative of people who are good at their job:

The targeting, harassment, shooting and arrest of working journalists by police over the last several days is having a significant — maybe even profound — effect on the coverage of the mass demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

It’s a shift from watching the protests through the eyes of the police to watching the police through the eyes of the protesters.

It’s a shift from seeing the police primarily as sources and protectors to seeing them as subjects and aggressors.

Exhibit A is the lead story in the New York Times print edition on Monday morning, which, instead of dutifully reporting on the official version of clashes around the nation, boldly addressed the reality that police around the country have been responding to protests against their aggression with yet more of the same, and have themselves been inciting more violence.


The authors also wrote that shows of force by highly-militarized police weren’t bringing calm. “Instead, some people said, it was escalating tensions and serving as a reminder of the regular use of military equipment and tactics by local police forces.”


This sentence struck me as both incredibly naïve and – at the same time – nothing short of revolutionary:

Now, some are questioning whether tough police tactics against demonstrators are actually making the violence worse rather than quelling it.


Slate collected a number of social media clips and very effectively aggregated them under the headline: “Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide.”

So, it’s clear how you get journalists to start reporting, and stop cultivating sources:  You just need to make sure that someone beats the crap out of them.

It’s a hell of a state of affairs.

During Pledge Week, DON’T GIVE

The Department of Justice has announced plans to retry Cliven Bundy and Evil Minions, and NPR decides to give this group of racist terrorists a big wet kiss in their coverage.

I do not know whether Kirk Siegler is a fellow traveler, or the folks at NPR are so deep in a protective crouch to the right wing that they have lost all integrity, but until it is fixed, you need to not give at pledge time.

At least ⅔ of this story is a stenographic reporting from the right wing, particularly the contemptible Larry Klayman, allowing them to make their claims unchallenged.

My guess is that this is a beat sweetener for Siegler, he wants another interview with Bundy, and so he does not want to offend him, but he, and whoever the hell his editor is, should both be ashamed of themselves.

OK, This is Wierd

Ben Smith of The New York Times has just come out with a an article excoriating Ronan Farrow.

The thing is, there is not a whole bunch of “There” there.

Smith suggests that Farrow sees himself as a crusading reporter with an attitude, rather than an ideology free automaton, something which Farrow freely admits, so this is not what one would call a big reveal.

I’ll be honest, my first reaction to NYT publishing a bizarre hit piece on Ronan Farrow is that he’s working on something they want to preemptively discredit.

— Shannon 🩸🦷 (@TheStagmania) May 18, 2020

The question is why, and why now?

I think that there are a number of reasons that this story might have run.

The most banal reason for this would be that the priesthood at the The New York Times is simply offended by Farrow’s success and notoriety for what they would see as garbage journalism.

They are the “Karens” of journalism, and this is a profoundly “Karen” moment for them.

While this is a behavior that is typical of the Times hive mind, it does not typically end up in the news section.  It typically ends up in the the snark sections, OP/ED or media criticism, and not in news.

A more laudable, but by no means laudable, motivation might they want to throw Farrow off of his stride because they have a competing scoop, and they want to get there first, so they pulled this out of their back pocket.  (A stick in his bicycle spokes, so to speak.)

Not nice, but journalism ain’t tiddly winks.

Assuming this is not a product of the two above scenarios, then we need to go a little bit tinfoil hat, and conclude that they have gotten word of a story that they (whoever “they” are) never want to see the light of day.

I don’t buy this, but if it is either hyper competitive journalism or a conspiracy theory, then the likely stories would cover 3 general areas:

  • A revelation related to the crimes of the late Jeffrey Epstein.
  • A revelation related to someone close to the publisher of the New York Times. (tinfoil hat only)
  • A revelation related to sexual misconduct that rhymes with Poseidon.

My guess is that we going to see an Epstein story in the next few weeks, and my money is that Farrow will get there first.

Note that I have what might be the worst prediction this side of my dad, so I’m probably wrong.

Not Enough Bullets

Earnings in a free fall, laying of thousands, but companies are still paying large dividends, because canceling them would drive the stock down, and put senior management stock options under water.

This story is not mentioning the whole control fraud aspect of this, but that is the reality, one that the authors completely ignore:

Since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, Caterpillar has suspended operations at two plants and a foundry, Levi Strauss has closed stores, and toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker has been planning layoffs and furloughs.

Steelcase, an office furniture manufacturer, and World Wrestling Entertainment have also shed employees.

And as thousands of their workers were filing for unemployment benefits, these companies also rewarded their shareholders with more than $700 million in cash dividends. They are not alone. As the pandemic squeezes big companies, executives are making decisions about who will bear the brunt of the sacrifices, and in at least some cases, workers have been the first to lose, even as shareholders continue to collect.

Many large U.S. companies choose to issue a regular, quarterly dividend to shareholders, often increasing it, and they boast about these payments because they help keep the share price higher than it might otherwise be. Those companies might be reluctant to announce that they are cutting or suspending their dividend during a crisis, [deputy director of the Council of Institutional Investors Amy ] Borrus said.


William Lazonick, an emeritus economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, has been one of the leading critics of companies that distribute cash to shareholders through stock buybacks and dividends rather than reinvesting the profits into employees, innovation and production. For companies that are continuing to do buybacks and issue dividends during the crisis, he said, it is business as usual. The lion’s share of dividends goes to higher-income Americans, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service: about 69 percent of all dividends goes to taxpayers with incomes in excess of $200,000.

“In a downturn like this, the first thing a company should do is give up any distributions to shareholders,” Lazonick said. “But in a crisis, companies will differ. Some will care … and some will rob the workers, who should expect that their continued employment will be the company’s first concern.”

You cannot understand these actions unless you know that the senior management of these firms are rewarded almost entirely on the basis of stock price.

This is not a single minded focus on short term shareholder returns, which is bad, it is a single minded focus on THEIR returns.

They don’t carte if the company fails in 2 years, if they can cash in their stock options today.

Fire Dean Banquet

Donald Trump says that people should drink, inhale, or inject household disinfectants to prevent Covid-19 infection.

The initial response of the New York Times was to write that “some experts” found this dangerous.

We’ve deleted an earlier tweet and updated a sentence in our article that implied that only “some experts” view the ingestion of household disinfectants as dangerous. To be clear, there is no debate on the danger.

— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 24, 2020

No, anyone with two brain cells to rub together gets that this is dangerous.

Even if this was not the result of an edict from Dean Banquet, the editor-in-chief of the Times, this is clearly a product of the (toxic) newsroom culture that that he has inculcated there.