Ignorance On Display in The New York Times


No wonder Cuba wallows in poverty. Last week, The New York Times reported that the Castro brothers opened a special business zone where foreign companies "would be given greater control over setting wages at factories. … (P)roposals would be approved or rejected within 60 days."

What? If I want to give someone a raise, I have to wait up to two months for government approval! That's absurd. Yet the Times said that the zone offers "big incentives for investors."

How clueless can their writers be? Their own article acknowledges, "A year later, the Cuban government has yet to announce a single foreign investment."


The article went on to say that "according to many economists, President Obama's plan to allow more interaction between the two countries may not be the lifeline Cuba is hoping for—unless Cuba overcomes its resistance to change."

No kidding!

I suppose Times reporters need to consult economists to learn that entrepreneurs don't like having to beg dictators for permission to try something new. After all, back in America, Times editors demand increased regulation of almost every business.

I've learned to expect economic cluelessness from the Times, but what was different for me last week was that I was on vacation, and my hotel produced a short version of the Times every day called the TimesFax. It gave me a new reason to laugh—and scream.

I flipped to a Fax page and read, "Firing of VA Clinic Chief Is Upheld." A judge ruled that Sharon Helman, director of the Veterans Affairs health care system in Phoenix, "could be fired for accepting more than $13,000 in airline tickets and other gifts."

What? Taking gifts is the scandal? She's not fired because of her falsified waiting lists for treatment? Because thousands of veterans at her facilities were cruelly lied to and then denied medical care? No, "the department had not provided sufficient evidence to justify firing Ms. Helman for the manipulation of waiting lists." 

At least the Times got the bureaucracy's rules correct. If you work for government, no matter how incompetent you are—even if you do cruel, selfish things that may have killed people—you can't get fired unless an "administrative judge" rules that all arcane civil service due process protections have been honored. You can only be fired if you step outside the bureaucracy's rules and happen to get caught, say, taking obvious bribes like eight-night stays at Disneyland from a company that wants to do business with your agency.

Nowhere does the Times article address the elephant in the room: No organization can do anything efficiently, or even reasonably, unless workers can be fired. Government workers' special "protections" are a reason taxes are high, bridges fall down, public schools decay, the CDC loses Ebola samples, and so on.

But Times writers constantly call for more government, "job protections," etc. Few of them have ever run a business or invented something new themselves. If they had, they might understand this obvious cause of government failure. But they don't. They are oblivious.

Finally, there was one cheerful headline, "Inroads Against Climate Change." Here I thought a writer might acknowledge that modern industrial civilization brings benefits. The reporter said, "Saving forests … will require producing food much more intensively, on less land."

Yes, but that's already happened! Modern industrial agriculture produces more food on less land, so America now has more forest than a hundred years ago. Will the Times report that? No, the article was the usual leftist mix of support for "government leaders" pushing "sustainable practices."

The writer also ignored how fracking has lowered America's greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, he suggests that Americans must be guilt-tripped into giving billions more dollars to developing nations instead of "only a few billion."

I used to get angrier about such clueless reporting because when I worked at ABC News, editors based entire shows on silly ideas from the Times. Now we have more sources of news, so one newspaper doesn't matter as much. Thank goodness.

NEXT: On The Independents: Scalise's Dukey, NYPD Slowdown, Disputed Hack, Obama on Race, More Grubering, the Big (and Forgotten) Stories of 2014, a New Enemy of Freedom, and Punch-drunk After-show!

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    1. Yes America’s so obsessed with violence that violence is at 30 year lows. Smfh.

    2. These articles are always a little weird for me. I would think that these liberal folk, who are always bragging about how smart and well-educated they are, would notice that the police and the justice system are part of their Holy of Holies, Big Government. But they never seem to make the connection.

      1. Until you realize that we don’t hold big government as an object of worship, as you do the market.

        1. Is that why you quash charter schools to preserve state-enforced monopoly on education, because fuck the children, teachers need nice pensions?

          1. Tony doesn’t seem to understand that “the market” actually does miraculous things and is deserved of admiration. Fast and Furious, the IRS, subsidies for alternative energy, and tax rebates for electric autos ?. not so much.

        2. That, my friends, is a textbook example of projection.


        3. The Market is an organic thing that will always be the most efficient means of distributing goods and services. That’s all it is.

          So you typed “we don’t” with a straight face? You really believe that?

    3. The Nazis, Soviets, Taliban, Ancient Romans, Q’ing Dynasty, Maoists, Belgian Royalists and all the other genocidal regimes would no doubt be so disappointed in us.

      The writing staff of a typical leftwing shit-sheet gives you a great look at what happens when people stop studying history.

  1. Stossel isn’t getting it. Government employees, myself included, are worth MORE, so we receive higher compensation. All of our extra value cannot be represented by increased salaries or you people would be even more jealous so we get non cash perks, like our benefits packages, and the job security Stossel can’t handle.

    The problems he sites are clearly not due to our incompetence (as much as he wishes), its because we in government do the hard stuff you private sector peoe cannot handle. Really, would you trust a bunch of corporate workers with handling our tax money??


    1. Surely, this is tongue in cheek.

      1. Maybe he should change his name from Gman to Nathan Poe…

      2. Possibly but check the link. It’s quite interesting.

      3. Surely, this is tongue in cheek.

        It’s either tongue in cheek or tongue in ass.

    2. Oh, Thank GOD! I thought I’d have to go through this entire day without a belly-laugh.

    3. What’s the difference between a government employee and a corporate employee?

      1. The corporate employee works for a living?

      2. The government employee can kelo or asset forfeit your property, or have you incarcerated or executed?

  2. Good piece about the Times, John. It’s increasingly the paper of irrelevance. But you should name names.

    Anything written by Justin Gillis is suspect. His pieces are always agenda-driven; nothing balanced. A more charitable view is that he’s just the most gullible person on the planet.…

    Seth Borenstein’s another CO2 rabble rouser pretending to be a journalist. He seems to be the mouthpiece for a “scientist” with no original accomplishments, but who amplifies bad research by others by the name of Michael Oppenheimer, who Princeton continues to pay, and another profoundly dumb “economist” named Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia, who is famous for tilting at windmills with highly ineffective programs to “end poverty.”…..e=infinite

    It’s time to call out the propagandists by name. Don’t get me started on Naomi Oreskes…

    1. God-willing, the NYT is on its way out. It’s been hemorrhaging money for a decade, and just downsized I believe. Good riddance. Hopefully Gawker Media will go away soon after.

  3. ” Taking gifts is the scandal? ”

    Yep. pretty much. Nobody wants to read about some falsified document or that people were not getting proper treatment at some clinic. That is not entertaining to readers, nor interesting. If it doesn’t require people to use their heads and it is interesting, such as a scandal attacking someones character (taking bribes), it will get precedence over that.

    1. Thank you for not blaming it on the liberals or conservatives though. There might actually be some stuff worth reading on this site.

  4. Yup. It probably gets even worse when they squeeze it into a fax. But, that doesn’t sound like much of a vacation, John. You might want to try that again – ?

    God Bless you and yours in 2015

  5. Maybe we should create a “special business zone” around the NY Times where proposed pay raises for NY Times reporters will be approved or denied in 60 days or less.

    1. Right now actually they’re more likely to get laid off than get a raise (they just fired a bunch of people), so this might actually be a self-serving idea for NYT writers.

  6. John Stossel: What The New York Times Gets Wrong

    Just about everything?

    1. The squirrllzzz wouldn’t have had to change the title if they just went with “It’s a Wednesday at the NYT”.

    2. Yeah, that article could get us through 2015.

  7. Just a few years ago, the VA was being held up as an example of a single payer health care system that worked. I guess they’re not yet prepared to own up to and let go of that assertion.

  8. Okay, what just happened to the other comments?

    Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

    1. Do tell!

    2. Whenever there’s a delayed linking to the article, comments made up to that point vanish.

    3. Stossel is pretty good at couching things in common sense terms.

      I’m in Missoula FDA, if you happen to be in town shoot me an email,would be honored to share a brew. Happy New Year to all.

  9. What the New York Times gets wrong?

    Is this article the start of a 12 volume series?

    1. Don’t you mean 12,000 volume series?

      The New York Times has been around for a VERY long time.

    2. Keep in mind they host Paul Krugman’s blog. And remember, Paul Krugman is always right.

      Speaking of which, someone should catalog all the times Krugtard has been wrong and nail the updated version to his door every mourning. Starting with his prediction that the internet would be a less important invention than the fax machine.

  10. my best friend’s step-sister makes $76 hourly on the internet . She has been fired from work for five months but last month her check was $15869 just working on the internet for a few hours. have a peek at this web-site……….

    1. I propose a New Year resolution for Hit ‘N Run: deny this bullshit spam!

  11. Oh hell. Every now and then I swear off the news and delete my bookmarks because of this sort of ulcer-inducing story. This is IT! New Year’s Resolution: No more maddening news! I swear!

    1. So? you’re going to become a leftist?

  12. my best friend’s step-sister makes $76 hourly on the internet . She has been fired from work for five months but last month her check was $15869 just working on the internet for a few hours.
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  13. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for 74 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

  14. #1 sign of the increased awareness of Libertarianism: spammers in the comment section. Obviously they think there are enough readers to make their annoying posts worthwhile

  15. I dunno. What essentially amounts to slave labor might be appealing to some manufacturers. My guess is the bribes to Cuban officials offset any savings from the cheap labor.

  16. I know that the NYT has been full of shit at least since the days they had Stalin’s top English-speaking propagandist on their payroll. I’m curious when exactly they went off the rails. Was it back in the mid 1800s?


  17. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did

  18. my best friend’s step-aunt makes $67 hourly on the internet . She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her check was $20596 just working on the internet for a few hours. you can try this out………….

  19. my neighbor’s ex-wife makes $68 /hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for eight months but last month her paycheck was $16325 just working on the internet for a few hours. check out this site…

  20. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
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  21. I Got Hooked On Having An Online Business Almost A Decade Ago When I Created An Online Course And Made My First.


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