Blogger Ann Althouse has gone full circle and now allows reader comments again. I must confess that the episode cooled much of my long-standing enthusiasm for her blog: her reasoning in banning them was so arrogant and dismissive of the loyal readers who support her that she crashed her cognitive dissonance scale with me. (And I still don’t forgive her for refusing to include Ethics Alarms in her links; eventually she stopped linking to any other sites at all, which, come to think of it, was similar to banning comments.) I assume her traffic was crashing, or maybe someone she pays attention to pointed out that her constantly changing the comment hoops to jump through (“No comments, but you can email me with a comment, and maybe I’ll quote it as a comment…”) did not put the former law prof. in a flattering light. I don’t know, and don’t really care. I just know that I don’t check her quirky posts as often as I once did.
I checked today, though, and Ann posted on “Miscue After Miscue, U.S. Exit Plan Unravels/President Biden promised an orderly withdrawal. That pledge, compounded by missed signals and miscalculations, proved impossible” , a an article that I had already read in the print edition. The Times story describes a disturbing meeting President Biden had with his military and other advisors about the plan to pull out in Afghanistan. Ann read the online comments from Times readers and reported herself,
“If you go into the comments over there at the NYT and you put them in order of “most liked,” you’ll see an unbroken chain of comments supporting Joe Biden: “It seems to me that the media is being less than fair to Joe Biden over this,” “Has it really gone wrong?,” “Did the Trump Surrender Agreement with the Taliban provide for evacuation? If it did, what did it say? If it didn’t, why not?,” “Frankly I’m dismayed that the media is now declaring this a disaster,” “Thanks President Biden for making this brave decision albeit flawed execution. When we end this if there are no US troop live lost and Americans evacuated with as much of our allies. It will be remembered as a very good decision and no one will care about execution like Vietnam withdrawal.”
Good research there, Ann! I would never do that; I detest “likes,” which I regard as lazy substitutes for serious consideration. But her discovery is useful: this is a major reason, along with the biases of its employees, why the Times has abandoned journalism for progressive propaganda. Of course, I could read pretty much the same sad reactions from my own Facebook feed, if my “friends” didn’t block me from reading what they know I’d take apart, ruthless and with glee.
Then Althouse’s commenters had a field day, reminding me again how foolish it was to silence them. Among the best responses,
Kevin said…”Joe could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose the NYT commenters. They’d blame Trump for putting the idea into his head.”
Lloyd W. Robertson said… “So difficult not to have top staff turn into flatterers, lowering their effective IQs by many points. … I still have this uneasy feeling that the Pentagon wanted to sabotage any withdrawal from Afghanistan, to ensure no president is ever likely to try such a thing again. For Biden, happy things. Every morning, a lot of attention to clothing, appearance, perhaps the levels of drugs, and then: can we get ice cream and go to the zoo?”
gspencer said...”‘The plan was a good one, the group concluded.’ Just after, the members of the group also concluded that each one of them was “jolly good fellow.” Cakes, crumpets, and tea then followed.”
Bruce Hayden said…”A number of commenters have suggested that the MSM has turned on Biden. I think that the comments running so favorably in his direction suggests that is not the case with this core constituency (NYT readers). I think that with that support, the Democrats may not see a solution for their doddering, increasingly senile Biden problem for the foreseeable future. They don’t seem concerned that Biden appears to have screwed this up royally. Several days ago, everyone was pointing fingers, and too many were ending up pointing at Biden, including a number who worked for him. We may be seeing the start of a new narrative – that getting out was a good thing, that breaking a couple eggs is sometimes necessary to do good things, and then the lie, that Trump would have done a worse job. The scary thing is that Biden, himself, seems to have been the one who really screwed this up, and did so for personal reasons. So much for their reassurances that he had good people around him, helping steer him when necessary. The apparent reality is that Biden is usually in his senile fog, and the people around him run the government, which was the plan from the first. But his signature is required, and if he gets a hair up in his nether regions about something, like he did here, that is the cost of running a figurehead Presidency.”
Josephbleau said…”How does a Nation go to shit?, Gradually, then suddenly.”
Temujin said…” Regarding the comments to the article, Party Uber Alles. Democrat voters have shown themselves to be all about The Party. More than their families, their children, their country. Party and some sort of secular religion is everything. No rational human being could look at what has taken place and remark that it’ll be viewed as the right move, and let’s blame it on the administration who left 8 months ago. These people jettisoned their reason years ago. It is a religion now, this secular/marxist thought. And it’s not just the commenters. It’s at every level of our society, and is especially glaring at the level of government and military. These are not our ‘best and brightest’. They are either pawns or advocates of a religion that is anathema to the very existence of a free people. To put the likes of Lloyd Austin, Mark Milley, Anthony Blinken, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Marty Walsh, Alejandro Mayorkas, Deb Haaland, Janet Yellen, Susan Rice, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, et.al. in charge of our country and how we interact with the world is to give approval for our own destruction. And you can see it in every facet of our society now. I don’t know that we’ll survive four more years of this without turning ourselves inside out- and not in a good way. 2022 has to result in an earthquake of change, or there will be problems we’ve never seen before.”
cubanbob said… “The most liked comments in the NYT are scary. What level of willful blindness are those people capable of? A child could have thought up a better plan to exit Afghanistan than the Biden brain trust and yet the NYT commenters are praising this disaster. The NYT has morphed into Pravda and the requisite readers.”
21 thoughts on “Reader Comments Safari: Revealing NYT Reader Comments, And Althouse Reader Comments On Those Comments”
I would comment, but find it somehow not very rewarding to comment on comments (Jack’s) on comments (Althouse readers) on comments (Althouse) on comments (NYT readers) on comments (NYT editorials). I would rather just comment on the events unfolding: what an unmitigated disaster, following either incompetence or lies )Biden’s various pre-withdrawal statements) [no double entendre intended]. As the Dems always used to say about DJT: where we are the rational adults on the room?
This is an interesting development:
I’ve assumed Ron Klain was running the Biden Administration and Joe was just a ventriloquist’s dummy, emphasis on dummy. So it was Ron Klain who made the decision to leave Afghanistan and determined how to do so. I can’t imagine Joe having a single thing to do with any of this catastrophe. But now Klain is going to make Joe walk the plank. He’s gotten someone to write and publish a story that it wasn’t Ron Klain, et al., IT WAS JOE! He’s an imperious cowboy and a bully!
I think they’re throwing Joe under the bus! How incredibly Machiavellian and brilliant. I have to admit I didn’t see this coming. AIM is right in that the Dems may be getting desperate.
Now there’s this:
The National Security Advisor is going full Casey Stengel: “I advised good, Joe decided bad.”
These people are all saving their jobs by rendering Joe expendable.
In the early days of techno-pop the song “Electric Avenue” asked “Who is to blame in what country? Never can get to the one.” I think that’s a big part of what the White House was hoping for this time out. After all, victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. All he had to do was point the finger at Trump, and that would be enough. He could say just like Obama, “I inherited a mess, I did the best I could.” Unfortunately, his doing the best that he could led to something that’s widely going to be perceived as not just a defeat, but a rout for the United States and its armed forces. I’m trying to think of the last time American forces suffered a rout. The American military was never routed on the ground in Vietnam. The retreat down the Korean Peninsula in 1950 was pretty close, but the American and ROK forces were fighting all the way, and never became powerless, nor a fleeing rabble. The Kasserine Pass was pretty close, but the Allies rallied and stopped the Axis offensive. Savo Island was a complete embarrassment, but I’m not sure naval engagements should be used for comparison. I won’t compare Pearl Harbor, since that was a sneak attack in peacetime. American forces haven’t been routed since the 19th century at the Little Big Horn, Chancellorsville, et al.
I think it’s pretty fair to say very few Americans actively root for an American defeat, leave alone a rout. A lot of Americans thought it was time for this engagement to end. Maybe it was. I do not think many of those, except the near-traitorous anti-military far left, wanted this to happen. The fact that it did seems to have jolted the center and the center left. The fact is that this is too bad of an embarrassment to simply shrug off, and, after eight months in office with the current administration’s chosen leadership and a focus almost exclusively on changing the military to suit the woke vision, there is no dumping this all in Trump’s lap. That this all comes on the heels of the economy stagnating, Covid showing it isn’t quite done yet, and gas prices ramping up doesn’t help.
Biden is quickly going from well-meaning, to struggling, to failure, to betrayer. He was elected on the promise of ending this nation spiraling out of control as it had under Trump, and restoring stability at home and peace and respect abroad. Lenin also promised “peace, bread and land,” which sounded pretty damn good to a nation that had suffered the stress and privations of a long war. Unfortunately, Lenin didn’t deliver, and now Biden is delivering the opposite of what he campaigned on. It’s almost a year in and the crime rates aren’t going down, prices are rising, the delta variant is forcing us back into masks and revealing that maybe those vaccines weren’t as effective as we were told, the border is a self-manufactured crisis, unemployment doesn’t seem to want to move, and now the US has been routed in Afghanistan, undoing 20 years of work in a few days. What the heck happened to the promised days of peace and prosperity? Pointing to the white supremacist boogeyman just isn’t going to cut it, especially now that the “insurrection” myth has been shown to be just that.
The rest of the Democratic Party is seeing that, and they know that they are already in a tough spot for next year’s elections. The George Floyd wave has crested, the pandemic isn’t going away just yet, the economy isn’t back to where it was, and the White House can so far point to nothing but failure. The last place any Democratic politician wants to be at this point is next to this president. They know that presidents come and go and rise and fall, but they don’t want them dragging governors and legislators down with them, especially not now. They have the thinnest majorities ever, and they do not want to see them flip next year. They know if they do flip, a GOP Congress is going to make Biden the most investigated president since Clinton, and maybe do its own impeachment on the grounds of failure to perform duties. They do not want any of this. They thought they’d won first place, but it looks like they got the boobie prize instead.
Except for toady bureaucrats like Austin and Milley, this is not the military’s shame. It’s not even America’s shame; it belongs to Joe Biden and his enablers. The right has made this clear, and even foreign observers seem to realize this.
The final proof is that even many of the enablers and supporters are now throwing SloJo under the bus, and trying to shift ALL the blame onto him.
I would say that the battles in Novermber/December 1950 on the western side of Korea would likely qualify as a rout. The Marines as Chosin Reservoir were defeated but not routed, and retreated in fairly good order.
The Army and South Korean forces along the western coast were decisively defeated and I don’t think a rout is an overstatement (especially the South Koreans, who tended to disintegrate whenever they were attacked by the Chinese). For practical purposes, we pretty much lost an entire division — something that is almost unprecedented (possibly the initial reverses in the Battle of the Bulge might qualify). It was likely exacerbated by MacArthur, who was defeated and ready to throw in the towel. The Army retreated out of North Korea far faster than the Chinese could pursue. Only the arrival of Matthew Ridgway to take command saved us from far worse, I think.
But Biden doesn’t have any such excuse — from what I’ve read, he was advised this was a likely occurrence, and he’s certainly trying to spin it as inevitable. How he could get this so wrong and then be so arrogant as to never consult with our allies or, indeed, keep his promises to them — it just makes me mad.
When Clinton was elected, I remember making a comment to a friend (who voted for him) to the effect that we’d survived four years of Carter, we could probably survive Clinton as well. One can only hope that this will be true of Biden.
Chosin Reservoir was more fighting withdrawal than retreat, the Marines there left nothing for the enemy to take and their formations did not disintegrate. The performance of the ROK forces is not exactly the point I was trying to make, but their tendency to fall apart is what led to the US Army having to fight rearguard actions all the way. The question of MacArthur v. Ridgway is a little bit different from the question of just how bad the defeats were. MacArthur’s initial failures were later overshadowed by his masterstroke at Inchon, so they don’t get talked about much. Actually the biggest rout ever suffered by American forces, since we were still Americans all in the Civil War, was probably the Battle of Nashville, where General George Thomas, the least well-known of Grant’s three best lieutenants, smashed Confederate General John Bell Hood’s army and sent them running, with no semblance of order. There’s actually very little left of the battlefield now, since the local folks didn’t see the point of preserving a place where their ancestors got crushed. Why put up a monument to that? None of them wanted a place where supercilious northerners could go, and gloat, and sneer and say “haha, we kicked YOUR ass!”
I mostly agree with your last two paragraphs, though. Biden has no excuses. What is worse for him, he can’t hide behind his color like Obama, nor has he the political skill to redirect the nation’s attention like Bill Clinton. I hope you’re right at the end, but it DOES seem like every Democratic president who comes to power does a little more permanent damage lately. Carter we probably bounced back from successfully with Reagan. However, Clinton made ethical rot something to be expected and just shrugged at in DC, and Obama opened the crack between the races that the George Floyd Freakout widened into a chasm. Arguably Clinton set us up for 9/11 by not taking down bin Laden when he had the chance. If I put on my magician’s robe and pointy hat and consulted my magic mirror regarding the future, I think I see another attack on the American homeland down the line. Bin Laden is ten years dead, but there are plenty of other charismatic kooks to step into his sandals and try to continue the work he began. The conditions are almost perfect: weak leadership, both civilian and military, a military establishment that is in less than wonderful shape and distracted, and a populace that’s fed up with foreign affairs and looking inward, hoping for a new Ike era, minus the racial prejudice, of course. Wait a year or two, let things slip back into a semblance of business as usual, then, maybe in August, when the most people are on vacation, make the move. There’s no need even to try for a major target like 9/11, this nation is full of soft targets. Buses, schools, railroad stations, malls, any of these could be one. Set two bombs instead of one, the first to get the target, the second set to go off ten-fifteen minutes later, to get the first responders. Then hope America is so demoralized that it does nothing, but go to ground in case it decides to launch a few missiles and declare victory.
Ever since Harris was declared as his running mate, people have been speculating that it was the plan all along to have Biden resign (or be removed) in order to give us America first female president. It seems to me this is shaping up to be the perfect excuse.
Except Harris has shown she can’t even run her own office. Run the country? You’ve got to be frickin’ kidding.
Yeah, that’s a problem, ain’t it Steve? Hah. That turned out to be a cul de sac they tootled merrily down. Surprise! You fucked up! You picked Kamala Harris! And she’s an idiot. Hahahahahahaha.
You assume they’re actually concerned with good governance, as opposed to checking boxes for aggrieved identity groups.
Oh Dave, they’re concerned ultimately with retaining power and their jobs. And this is kind of an ultimate situation. Don’t you worry. They’ll throw identity politics overboard if the feel they need to.
I think Susan Rice rather than Klain – this has a distinctive Benghazi feel to it.
Could very well be. This does reek of Susan Rice’s work, but I think everything goes through Ron Klain. He’s the final decision maker.
Yeah, that lament has been getting a lot of satirical play lately.
All the comments prove one thing that plagues us ALL.
We SEE WHAT WE BELIEVE.
I learned this at 16 and it’s a truth I see played out over and over.
It’s why it’s SOOOOO IMPORTANT to be honest and aware (the latter the most difficult) of what one believes BEFORE offering up opinions.
Only a clear mind has the ability of seeing something clearly and accessing that inborn intelligence that we lose so quickly.
True wisdom and discernment is SO rare, most have never seen it in action.
People who speak truth is so rare, few realize the counterfeit crap they ingest daily.
The great thing is, all over the world people are waking up, and voices of truth are out there (though Google pushes them way back in ranking or deletes them from its curated offerings to search) and I think we have the opportunity to join in truth and build something new.
The old can not be fixed as it’s corruption goes to the core.
Exciting time to be alive! If we have eyes to see, boy are we seeing a lot!
It’s as if Platos allegory of the cave is being played out before our eyes.
Thanks for a great article
My comments are being blocked again. Boo hoo
I’ll go get them. Spam, here I come!
I look at that photo at the head of the post (with President Biden and some of his officials) and I can’t help but wonder: if the President’s occasional press conferences are any indicator (with him bumbling all over the place and unable to put together cogent thoughts), what must those really important meetings be like?!?
That photo gives me great discomfort.
Here’s what I’m thinking those meetings are like: