NYT: American Graffiti RIP?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
nyt american graffiti rip

After thirty-two years in the media, I know how this works. You take a popular, generally negative story like, say, rising gas prices. You think of a likely trend within the story: the effects of $4 a gallon gas on teenage cruising. Must be down, right? Makes sense, yes? So you find people who can validate the central thesis: teens, teens' parents, cops. You weave the tale with plenty of anecdotes and call it good. In fact, there's only one thing missing from this otherwise boilerplate New York Times feature: facts. "From coast to coast, American teenagers appear to be driving less this summer. Police officers who keep watch on weekend cruising zones say fewer youths are spending their time driving around in circles, with more of them hanging out in parking lots, malls or movie theaters." Note the word "appear." And the reliance on an unspecified number of police officers. To be fair– not always a NYT hallmark– The Grey Lady mentions the possibility that the dearth/death of cruising might have something to do with… something else. "To be sure, the number of teenage drivers nationwide was already on a downturn over the past decade, a trend fueled by tighter state laws governing the hours when teenagers can drive, higher insurance costs and a move away from school-sponsored driver’s education programs to more expensive private driving academies." To be sure, we expect better reporting from America's newspaper of record.

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  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jun 30, 2008
    brent: I suppose your answer would be NPR. Funny, that; NPR is far and away about the most liberal of them all. At least the liberal, for-profit media — for all their faults (many) — still must earn our viewership, listenership and readership. In my book, that’s always preferable to confiscatory tax-funded news media. Just ask our friends in China. Well NPR has to earn their listeners too. Ever notice the fund raisers that seem to constantly be on? The Spring fund raisers, the fall fund raisers, the late on Thursday afternoon fund raisers? Sure they get money from different groups but they lean on their listeners to make up the difference. I surely wish there was a conservative radio channel that had as much variety and in-depth reporting as PBS/NPR/PRI/BBC. The closest I can find is Rush Limbaugh or the local talk radio channel and neither even come CLOSE to NPR. FWIW I have voted conservative in every election since I was old enough to vote. Sure, I've seen NPR marginalize the conservative guest but no worse than FoxNews or most of the talk radio guys. And FWIW each time it was a polite brush off... VBG! I quit listening to talk radio a while back and Rush over a decade ago. Got tired of the windbags constantly belittling their intellectual opponents. If these radio guys have so much guidance to offer I wonder why they aren't on the tickets? Rush made good sense for a couples after I read his book but now my tolerance for him is less than 30 seconds. I recently quit Foxnews too. Never watch it anymore and seldom got their website. For fair and balanced they are way too much in the viewer's face about all things left vs right. I find little balanced about them, they just lean the other way. The way I get my news is from a variety of sources from all around the globe thanks to the internet. I average out what I find and throw out anyone that is too far from the norm. There are some serious differences in the way the American media portrays the world compared to the rest of the world. I am very thankful for the internet and before that shortwave radio for adding a little variety to my news sources, and yes I know that most of the shortwave radio news was gov't news and thus could be considered gov't propaganda. Not everything however was worthy of being twisted nor could everything be twisted or it would standout from the way the same news was reported by other sources.
  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Jun 30, 2008
    Qwerty : I don’t see why all you right wingers are so pissed off at the media. Why do people only use the term "right winger" in a condescending, demeaning way? Do they simply not understand conservatism or libertarianism? Is it because saying that "conservatives get pissed off" would simply not have as much impact "right wingers get pissed off"? Anybody who prints or broadcasts only half-truths, or who will only tell one side of the story deserves my ire. But this should not be a liberal vs. conservative thing. We should all demand honesty from our press! And yes, I do believe that any news agency who gives away our military strategies or war secrets simply should be shut down until the end of the war. Again, this should not be a left vs. right ideal. If we care about our country, we should all seek to protect it, and we should demand no less from our news sources! If you have been on the receiving end of such a shocking imbalance in coverage by the existing news media then it is your opportunity to make bank. You can go into the newspaper business yourself. I'm confused about the last sentence. Why must a somebody "go into the business" just because they're not happy with the products that are currently available? That's like telling the TTAC membership that they should all go into the car manufacturing business because of their dissatisfaction with anything/everything that is on the road today. That's simply not realistic. Just "going into" a business such as newspaper, radio, or television is a HUGE undertaking, not to be attempted without due consideration and a lot of preparation and funding. Giving a disagree-er an unrealistic alternative such as this is like smacking them with a condescending insult, rendering them helpless and unable to effectively respond to. What if the newspaper business is not that person's passion, not his love? If it's not, then it would simply not be what he does best. I'm not an expert, but I know this much: To increase my chances for success in anything in life, I should probably seek to do something that I am passionate about, yes? Of course, just because a person doesn't choose to "go into" an industry or line of work, that doesn't mean that they forfeit their right to an opinion. With your solid conservative newspaper bashing gays... I'm sorry, I can't accept this precept. Neither should any liberal or conservative. Linking conservatism with the "bashing" of any group is wrong. ...railing against feminists... See my above paragraph. Besides, I admire strong women, especially if they're not afraid to pick up a wrench or a tire iron, check their oil once in awhile, or do even more difficult jobs like having and raising children or taking care of an infirm loved one. ...and denouncing women’s reproductive rights... You have to accept something here. Some people think that abortion is the killing of the unborn. They simply won't change their minds on this. As they see it, it is not good enough that some people have watered down the language by calling it "womens' reproductive rights." Regardless of which side you're on, this is a polarizing issue, and it always will be. ...you will surely attract a large following of like minded conservatives who have not been served well by the existing liberal media. Well, now THERE is something that I can agree with. If I was a newspaperman, that is. I say give the free market a chance. I wholeheartedly agree here too. And that is why I won't read my local newspaper or the NYT. They don't report the whole truth. They waste ink and time on issues that don't matter to me. They don't spend ink or time on things that DO matter to me. And, as I said before, I think the NYT has gone over the line, and has tried to hurt my country. And that is unforgivable.
  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Jul 01, 2008

    I heard on NPR this morning gas prices are affecting touring rock bands.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 02, 2008

    And here is a question - how can entertainers be "environmentalists" and "green" and spend the year traveling by bus or train or plane burning thousands of gallons of fuel and attracting thousands each tour stop who arrive by car??? What is green about that? If they REALLY want to be green they would do pay-per-view dates from a single stage convenient to their home... VBG!