NY Times Sr. Writer, Marine ("The Gun"): paradox?


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Ignition Override
February 25, 2012, 08:43 PM
Having glanced for a third time at a few paragraphs in this unique book about the development and applications of the AK-47, I still can't reconcile the apparent contradiction of a former US Marine Captain, Mr. Chivers, working inside that organization. He has won some awards, and this book is the result of very extensive research.

Maybe guys like that simply want to bring real-world experience into a leftist publication, hoping that it will enlighten/educate some of the other staff?
We know how such newspapers' policies-long before Mr. Chivers went to work there (for those who read into everything)- continue to feature negative incidents of our military on the front page (only the negative aspects), yet hide a fallen (Afghan. battle) US warrior's award of a medal, buried in the NY Times Local News section-not where most people would see it.

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jfh
February 25, 2012, 09:35 PM
I received the book, and read a chunk of it shortly after it came out. For various reasons, I haven't finished it.

Like you, I found it bemusing that a Marine Captain worked for the NY Times. But, keep in mind that perhaps Chivers' personal identity is that of a first-class journalist whose reward comes from diligent research and not from the particular political anti-gun biases of the owner and the editors.

I've found at least neutral firearms stories in the Times from time to time, and I've corresponded with their writers to critique them. One of their more notorious political writers, Lichtbau, did not respond. The others did, promptly and cordially, and in the one case thanked me for the minor correction I submitted (and which an editor or copywriter should have found).

So, my takeaway is that the vision of the NY Times as a leftist rag of dubious sociocultural value which most of us gunnies share really has to be balanced with an awareness of it as the tremendous journalistic resource it is as well.

And, when you think about it--does the obvious literacy of Chivers' research balance with popular stereotyping of warrior leaders? So, perhaps the final takeaway is that gold is where you find it.

Jim H.

JSpear
February 25, 2012, 10:35 PM
Damn!! Well said! ^^^^^^, at list far better then I can do on a Saturday night!

Beagle-zebub
February 26, 2012, 05:10 AM
Where's the paradox? The New York Times is a real newspaper. They keep their opinions pretty well confined to their editorial page, and those who say otherwise tend to be chronic viewers of Fox News, which is like if the fans of the pot were to call the kettle black.

SpodWo
February 26, 2012, 06:15 AM
I read 4 days worth of NY Times when staying at a high end hotel about a month ago. It doesn't strike me as a leftist rag. What struck me was the depth of the stories which were extremely detailed and offered plenty of depth from different views. Generally the length of the articles were probably beyond most peoples attention span. It has a LOT of news...

I read it and formed my opinion. Many choose to have an opinion based on others opinions.

jfh
February 26, 2012, 09:53 AM
Maybe there is more to be said on this topic--but if it is, it need not be in stereotyped aspirsion-casting, Beagle-zebub.

I've read the NYTimes for over forty years, in the fashion of a literati (i.e., English Major) out in Flyoverland. I would drive to town, buy the Sunday edition, and return to devour it cover-to-cover. During the Eighties, I traveled a lot internationally, and I would read the IHT as well. It is hard to imagine two better-written newspapers.

But, in the past twenty-five years, coinciding with the first great antigun thrust in american politics (Handgun Control-Brady-Horwitz-Clinton AWB), their reporting on firearms topics became far more regionalized and biased. The nadir of integrity was the exhaustive article done in the 90s, in the magazine--I think it was Lichtbau who wrote it, and he even had a spurious comment about the size of Tanya Metaska's breasts.

Look to their recent (un)coverage of the carry arrests, the 'visitors unaware' stories recently done at the 9/11 and the Empire State Building for a good example of their deficiencies in coverage of political or factual news about firearms. Their reporting of anti-firearm politics exceeds the newsworthiness of many stories by magnitudes, and so on.

And, as they have lost over a half-billion in the last ten years, their decent into regionalism is apparent. So, we now seem to have a Journal of Record that at best reflects the social values primarily among the cultural elite in the Northeast Corridor. A read of their recent editorial in which they finally managed to acknowledge some sort of values 'adjustment' to settled law, in light of the SC Heller decision, revealed the serious deficiency in objectivity gunnies will find there.

IMO.

Jim H.

Beagle-zebub
February 26, 2012, 10:37 AM
Oh, to be sure, their editorial page is standard New York liberal, particularly the pieces just written by editors--sometimes I just want to slap those guys. And I wasn't reading it in the '90s, and haven't kept a particular eye out for gun-related article in recent years, in part because they're fairly rare. But it still irks me when people call it a "leftist publication," as though the great majority of articles in it aren't really, really good.

I can't speak to the placement of Medal of Honor articles, since I read it online instead of in print, but they are where I've read about all the recent awardings, and even articles on questions like whether there shouldn't be a non-posthumous one awarded. (Back before there was.) Yeah, scandals among troops get written about, but those are newsworthy from the standpoint of them screwing up relations with the natives, who hear about it from al-Jazeera, not some America paper.

Regarding the people who diss the Times and glorify Fox News, that's not a stereotype, that's just me describing my extended family. :rolleyes:

Black Butte
February 26, 2012, 11:01 AM
The New York Times is a real newspaper.

That is debatable. Some would argue that the paper's left-leaning editorial section in addition to its biased and missing stories has reduced it to little more than a liberal rag--more suited for training puppies than reading.

Beagle-zebub
February 26, 2012, 12:03 PM
Editorial pages are editorial pages. What matters is that it stays separate, generally speaking, from the actual reporting.

Just give me one news source that's better than the New York Times. But don't say the PBS News Hour, or else I'll have to agree, and that's not what the internet is for now is it! :D

AFDavis11
February 26, 2012, 12:11 PM
I have met a few liberal retired military folks, not many Marine Captains but a few.

Black Butte
February 26, 2012, 12:48 PM
Just give me one news source that's better than the New York Times.

The National Enquirer. It has less liberal bias.

IAmNightMan
February 26, 2012, 02:07 PM
Even if the NYT is a "liberal rag" i do not see the problem or paradox here. Assuming the writer is not liberal in his views, he could be working where he is in hopes of giving NYT readers a differing viewpoint, trying to make the NYT more "fair and balanced"...of course that particular phrase has been tainted by a news organization that is itself a font of biased information, albiet of an opposing view...

Neverwinter
February 27, 2012, 02:12 AM
The National Enquirer. It has less liberal bias.
Of course it is. Everyone knows reality has a well-known liberal bias. Which is why I choose to support media which refuses to follow that bias, not a liberal rag like the NYT.

beatledog7
February 27, 2012, 07:20 AM
Really good liberal writers and editors can make most readers believe that what they publish is unbiased. The NY Times has really good writers and editors.

Sam1911
February 27, 2012, 07:54 AM
If you do read The Gun you'll note that Mr. Chivers spends a bit of time carefully explaining that the AKM clones available to the US civilian market are not only not full-auto assault rifles, but that he doesn't even consider them AKs for the purposes of his book. He then goes on to disavow any bias one way or the other on the question of the 2nd Amendment or civilian ownership of AK clones as unrelated to the historical study he's written about the development and use of the AK-47, AKM, and variants as a military, paramilitary, terrorist, freedom-fighter, police, insurgent, etc. weapon.

I found his writing to be extremely well-researched and knowledgeable, and that as far as I could see, he successfully maintained his bias-free stance.

Having said that, I have no idea what way Mr. Chivers pulls the voting lever, if he does, or what causes he supports, if any. So claims that he's a conservative, neo-conservative, liberal, libertarian, or any other persuasion seem highly speculative.

And if he is/isn't, so what?

UpTheIrons
February 27, 2012, 09:05 AM
^ Well said, Sam. I found the book to be very informative and well researched, if a bit dry in some spots.

Baba Louie
February 27, 2012, 10:43 AM
An excellent book on the subject matter and related arcania, taking special note of the paradox between the state sponsored AK v. capitalistic M16/AR program, warts and all.

As always YMMV

Sam1911
February 27, 2012, 10:53 AM
When Chivers was interviewed on NPR, I about fainted to listen to him wax eloquent about how he spots AK variants like bird-watching when he's meeting various tribal or paramilitary groups who've got weapons from all over. When he started explaining about spotting the milled receiver lightening cuts from yards away, I was just giddy! :)

OOOOH COOOL! The interview is still up -- listen here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130493013

Neverwinter
February 27, 2012, 03:00 PM
I found his writing to be extremely well-researched and knowledgeable, and that as far as I could see, he successfully maintained his bias-free stance.

Having said that, I have no idea what way Mr. Chivers pulls the voting lever, if he does, or what causes he supports, if any. So claims that he's a conservative, neo-conservative, liberal, libertarian, or any other persuasion seem highly speculative.

And if he is/isn't, so what?
This is ultimately the nuanced point which is often forgotten by the people who jump to the claim of media bias and proceed to quote the demographics of journalists.

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