June 28, 2001
6:18 PM   Subscribe

Are they grasping at straws here or no? Smartertimes rips on the NYT for making the sweeping generalization that the whole of Europe is opposed to the death penalty. Okay, fine, bad writing is bad writing and maybe someone at the Times should have done their homework, but this guy bases his entire argument on an article written in The New Republic. Not that it's a bad read, but it's hardly going to be an objective take on the topic. No?
posted by Bixby23 (11 comments total)
There was a time when NYT was above reproach and could do no wrong. It was the epitome of fair and impartial journalism. And it had a proud, smug air about itself to boot, which is why I've never liked reading the damn thing. They were conceited in their efforts, which is to their credit, but it was like having the news read by Cruella DeVille.

To discover that NYT is printing biased headlines? Whether it's true or not, that should knock them down a peg or two.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:33 PM on June 28, 2001

did he say that Canadians and Europeans 'crave' executions as americans do? I may dabble in babble but i would not give to much credit to a person that uses 'crave'. (at least a professional writer)
posted by clavdivs at 6:41 PM on June 28, 2001

'he' being marshall, and author using this example of bad writing...which proves your point about it being a one source show.
posted by clavdivs at 6:45 PM on June 28, 2001

There's an interesting disconnect here: you hear of the standard 60% in favour of bringing back the death penalty in the UK (always couched in vague terms), but it's not an electoral issue. (Unlike, for instance, the legality of abortion in the US.) It's a kind of nostalgic hangover from the days of the Empire, or "when you could leave your doors open and the insurance money on the mantlepiece". No-one actively campaigns for the restoration of hanging.

But to expect any modern newspaper to grasp that complexity is somewhat idealistic, especially when there are easy headlines to be gained by slanting the national biases on either side of the debate. We're in the territory of "manufactured consent" once more.

Frankly, the ICJ decision was not so much to do with the death penalty, as with Arizona's utter disrespect for the right of foreign nationals to consular assistance. (That's what consulates are there for.) The fact that the two German citizens were executed only exacerbated the effects of that initial failure.
posted by holgate at 6:52 PM on June 28, 2001

I have always found it odd that someone would devote so much time and energy to find fault with a newspaper, no matter how great its reputaion, and nit pick at every little thing. The NY Times is often slanted, incorrect, and even biased. but overall it remains an outstanding paper--the best in the country.
As for Europeans wanting or not wanting the death penalty, of course there are many who believe in vengeance, but the laws of most of the European counties prohibit the death penalty, and if this were so opposite of what the people wanted I am sure that there would be suffient pressure brought to bear to change things.
posted by Postroad at 6:52 PM on June 28, 2001

Yes, the Times is the best paper in the US; it remains the "newspaper of record." BUT it is not edited as it once was. I'm with the guy from Brooklyn. Across the river from him, I catch plenty of errors of fact and of logic not to mention errors of grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Sic transit ...
posted by caraig at 7:18 PM on June 28, 2001

I'd say Europe is pretty snooty for a group that gave us the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Monkees.
posted by dong_resin at 10:21 PM on June 28, 2001

True, a slight majority of Canadians support the death penalty, but most politicians and the supreme court seem to oppose it. Still, I would say not enough death penalty supporters are really passionate about it here in Canada compared to those opposed to the death penalty.

I think politicians are afraid because of a lot of high profile wrongful convictions in the past few years (David Milgaard, Guy Paul Morin and Donald Marshall) and the supreme court is familiar with these cases too and the fallibility of the courts. Also a lot of people I've talked to who are pro death penalty are unfamiliar with these cases.

So in referring to Canadians being pro-death penalty, the article is true, though it isn't really a burning issue here.
posted by swipe66 at 10:45 PM on June 28, 2001

It's part of the European Convention of Human Rights, that all members of the European Union sign up to that they do not impose a death penalty.

And the Monkees were American. (Well, on of them was born in Britain, but that's as far as the connection goes.)
posted by kerplunk at 2:42 AM on June 29, 2001

I realized my mistake after I hit the post button.
I could have sworn those jackasses were Brits.
posted by dong_resin at 5:43 AM on June 29, 2001

Hey Hey, we're the Beatles!
posted by whuppy at 7:02 AM on June 29, 2001

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