Why the NYT hired a science denier


From the first aired episode of “The West Wing”:
Mary (a representative of a conservative church, here to demand an apology for a verbal gaffe) soon says to Josh (Lyman, a White House senior staffer): “It was only a matter of time with you, Josh. That New York sense of humor was just a little…”

A reverend tries to calm her down and Josh points out he’s from Connecticut, but “Toby Ziegler,” the Communications Director played by Richard Schiff, is on to her: “She meant Jewish. When she said New York sense of humor, she was talking about you and me.”

Boy, those were the days!


Them’s thread startin’ words…Rural vs. Urban perspectives on hotbutton issues anyone? I think wrath would make the most sense…


Mainly the issues that impact rural people tend to be ones that deal with their connections with others:
*Crap Internet connectivity
*Decaying infrastructure (roads, power, other utilities), usually willfully neglected by TPTB. See tick #1
*Lack of good employment and educational opportunities

BB does tend to tie articles about rural living in with urban perspectives, like the ongoing commentary about John Deere tractors and their proprietary software bricking equipment for simple repairs.

eta: Actually, the same laundry list could apply equally to neglected inner city neighborhoods. Not so different, after all?


I agree. One doesn’t have to be “urban” to have contempt for a science denier or a newspaper that hires him. Plenty of places here to traffick in dim-bulb stereotypes without derailing.


There’s significant evidence that rural roads were over invested proportional to their economic benefit. The cost to society of paving a 10 mile road leading to 5 homes is disproportionate, and some places are considering reverting roads to dirt.

Great site, org, and Podcast on infrastructure: Strongtowns.org.


FTFY, “required” could be read so many ways, you could deem government intervention to be useless, yet still decide to deploy it for political purposes.


The reservoirs are not where the water comes from; they’re just holding tanks, flow buffers for the aqueduct system. The reservoirs are part of a very, very large and very complex system, management of which incurs significant costs not just to NYC residents but to a much larger community.

I know exactly where my water comes from. I pump it out of the ground twenty feet from my house; I know the watershed limits and have walked them on foot, and I know which aquifer my well taps and how deep it runs, and I know about the microbial community that lives in the well water and the sources of pollution in the air and ground that effect it. I know instinctively how local rainfall and weather will determine how much I can pump at any given time; right now, I could continuously pump for roughly 45 minutes at ~60 psi through a 3/4 line before the water table would depress enough that I’d endanger my pump. If I pump through a 1/2 line leading to a shower head I could easily get two hours. I also have a backup water supply; there is a drinking water stream on the property, that feeds the college town just south of me. It has more bacteria and fertilizer runoff in it than my well water, but I’m healthy enough to drink it without harm.

It is quite common for rural people to have the level of knowledge I just displayed about my water supply, rare among suburbanites, and almost unheard of for city dwellers. Water is outside their control.

Stroud Water Research Center and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development have done some really great work taking young urbanites on exploratory treks through portions of their water supply. The documentary evidence from those projects indicates that most urban families really don’t know where their water comes from, other than very vaguely and theoretically, but many of them will appreciate being given the opportunity to learn about it.

Well, I agree, but there’s a lot of variation among the primary authors, and I (in my green suburban bubble) still enjoy the site despite the sometimes urbanized viewpoint. Maybe all the more since it shows me so many things I would never get to the city to see!

Word! And while I particularly liked the paragraph Rob quoted from Ryan Cooper, the burn is still there even for NYT readers who aren’t New York Upper Class Urban Liberal Upper East Side Cocktail Party Neurotics (which might be a very long code meaning Jewish, but I doubt it, I think Cooper was casting a wider net).


You will get no argument from me on that!


This from a Slate posted comment re Brett Stephens’ column (and, generally, possible motivation):

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

― Upton Sinclair


Strangely enough me neither! As long as it does something!


Agreed. If it were Upper WEST Side, it would definitely be code for Jewish.:bomb:


It’s hard for me to say what the NYT is ‘really’ thinking on the basis of having Stephens on its staff, but knowing NYT’s demonstrated leanings over the last few months, I wonder if Stephens is for show, that is, the NYT – possibly believing (gambling?) that public opinion across the board has become inexorably polarized and effectively unchangeable anyway – seeks to satisfy its own bottom line (wider readership) and appear to be fair. I don’t know. Time will tell.


One can hope.


In other words, Bret Stephens is considered a devil for the same type of middle-of-the-road opinions that cause Jerry Taylor to be considered a saint.


Bret Stephens wrote:

Suppose for a minute—which is about 59 seconds too long, but that’s for another column—that global warming poses an imminent threat to the survival of our species. Suppose, too, that the best solution involves a helium balloon, several miles of garden hose and a harmless stream of sulfur dioxide being pumped into the upper atmosphere, all at a cost of a single F-22 fighter jet… Could it work? Mr. Myhrvold and his associates think it might, and they’re a smart bunch. source

“Suppose for a minute—which is about 59 seconds too long,”

Yeah, those are certainly the sort of middle of the road opinions that we should celebrate–opinions made without the benefit of even the slightest bit of intellectual curiosity. Maybe we should all blindfold ourselves with towels, in the hopes that the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal will become confused…



Plus, from what I read about this Jerry Taylor he’s just like Bret Stephens: a Libertarian ideologue who denied the existence of global warming right up until he couldn’t, and then immediately switched to downplaying its effects and arguing for exclusively market-driven ways of mitigating them. That’s not really a “middle of the road” opinion for anyone who takes anthropogenic climate change seriously. I don’t know who would consider Jerry Taylor a “saint,” but it wouldn’t be liberals or progressives or climate scientists.


Hey, I enjoy the site too. Great music posts, great SF posts, great copyfight news, great tech news, and the politics/economics articles never fail to amuse.

I live in a semi-rural area where our broadband sucks and if I want to go to an Apple store, it’s a four hour drive.

But I don’t make a big deal about it in combox posts because I know it’s my choice to live there, and if I wanted other things more, I am free to move.

A lot of the urbanites on BB who complain about where they live (especially and incessantly those who live in the SF bay area) fail to have gotten that same message.


Great, I was looking for a guilt-free way to cancel my subscription.

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