New York Times threatens to sue publisher of an art book critical of the paper's war coverage

war-is-beautiful

The critically acclaimed War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict examines the ways in which the newspaper happily propagated the Bush Administration's lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that resulted in a senseless war that hurt millions of people and immensely enriched Halliburton, Blackwater, the Carlyle Group and other companies with close ties to the Bush and the Cheney families.

As Ben Collins of the Daily Beast writes, "The book makes an artful, journalistic point: Photography on the front page of the paper of record depicted the conflict in rosy, gorgeous, cinematic ways, like the first scene in Apocalypse Now." And the book's author, David Shields bought the rights to use all the photos in the book. Why then, is the The New York Times suing the publisher for $19,000? Because the inside back cover of the book is decorated with 64 thumbnail photos from the front pages of the NYT.

“We didn’t expect we’d have a First Amendment fight,” Daniel Power, owner of Powerhouse Books told The Daily Beast. “Plus, we licensed the damn images and compensated these photographers for their work.”

Now, the paper contends, they’re just trying to collect an invoice for $19,000, even though this is almost definitively a textbook case of fair use. Thumbnails of copyrighted materials were protected speech, dating back to a very specific case just like this one about Grateful Dead posters ten years ago.

“Licensing content is not ‘quelling speech,’” said Rhoades Ha.

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Word Wars: Daily war headlines transformed into an automated Star Wars intro crawl

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News from the Empire.

New NYT editor spiked NSA spying story

Dean Baquet.

Mostly lost in the past week's media gossip around NYT executive editor Jill Abramson's ouster, and Dean Baquet's promotion to her role: Baquet is the former LA Times editor who killed the biggest NSA leak pre-Edward Snowden.

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This is why your office feels too cold

There is no single definition of comfort. My newest column for The New York Times Magazine explores the different cultural definitions of pleasant living, how those traditions affect energy use in different countries, and how globalization changes both the culture and the fossil fuel consumption. Fun fact: Engineers have a unit of measurement that helps them account for clothing when they're trying to figure out what temperature an office building should be. It's called the Clo, and 1 Clo is equivalent to one full business suit. As I discovered, that fact has a big impact on women, business people in the tropics, and basically anybody who doesn't wear a suit to work. Read the rest

Autism is more than a parasite deficiency

The New York Times Sunday Review had an article this week linking autism with the hygiene hypothesis. Written by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, the piece is part of the Times' opinion coverage, not reported news. It was also one of those sort of stories that comes across as highly persuasive ... until you start looking at the details. About halfway through reading it yesterday, it occurred to me that Velasquez-Manoff was making a lot of big statements—"perhaps 1/3 of autism, and very likely more, looks like a type of inflammatory disease", for example—without citing the sources to back those statements up.

That's easy to do when you're writing a relatively short article summarizing the contents of a much bigger book, as Velasquez-Manoff seems to be doing here. But the problems go deeper than that, according to biologist and science writer Emily Willingham. In a must-read blog post, she goes through the NYT piece and points out many flaws in argument and detail. The main problem, though, is a pretty simple one: Moises Velasquez-Manoff presents what seems to be a largely speculative hypothesis as sure-fire truth. To make that case as persuasive as it is, he leaves out lots of evidence that doesn't match up with his thesis.

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All the news that's fit to print

FYI: Wild hawks are doin' it in New York City. Read the rest

New York Times: It's okay to like that taco made out of a giant Doritos chip

Good news for those of you who require some kind of public justification for your love of junk food. The Paper of Record has published a positive review of Taco Bell's Doritos Loco taco. Fair warning, though, food critic William Grimes advises against springing for the Supreme version, as the tomatoes are flavorless and the "sour cream is just wrong." Read the rest

NYT-“MEN invented the internet”

What a steaming turd of an opening line in David Streitfeld's otherwise serviceable New York Times piece about the Ellen Pao/Kleiner Perkins sexual harassment lawsuit, and gender discrimination in Silicon Valley.

Here's the opening graf (bold-ing, mine):

MEN invented the Internet. And not just any men. Men with pocket protectors. Men who idolized Mr. Spock and cried when Steve Jobs died. Nerds. Geeks. Give them their due. Without men, we would never know what our friends were doing five minutes ago.

You guys, ladies suck at technology and the New York Times is ON IT.

Radia "Mother of the Internet" Perlman and the ghosts of RADM Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace and every woman who worked in technology for the past 150 years frown upon you, sir. Women may have been invisible, but the work we did laid the groundwork for more visible advancements now credited to more famous men.

"Men are credited with inventing the internet." There. Fixed it for you.

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