BlockNYT app bars 800 Times reporters from Twitter feed
A new app offers the ability to block New York Times reporters on Twitter en masse, escalating the feud between the tech community and the Paper of Record.
The BlockNYT project rolled out Monday morning anonymously on Twitter, promising the ability to “block 800 NYT reporters for the low price of $0.” It circulated rapidly among West Coast tech workers, who in recent years have grown to distrust the reporters who cover tech companies and online culture.
Reporters at the Times have developed an increasingly adversarial relationship with major tech figures. Angel investor Balaji Srinivasan has clashed repeatedly online with Taylor Lorenz, a tech reporter at the Times. Lorenz drew fire for claiming on February 6 that investor and entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, cofounder of venture capital firm a16z, had used the word “retard” in the voice-chat app Clubhouse. Multiple participants in the chat room denied the allegation.
The glossy “BlockNYT” website mimics the Times‘s front page. But rather than real news headlines, the page features 21 Times scandals, ranging from Walter Duranty’s whitewashing the Soviet famine in 1933 to the recent news that a podcast on ISIS got key facts wrong.
Reached for comment, the anonymous figure behind the app said, “The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for helping starve five million people to death. That was almost ninety years ago. Their star reporters lied on Twitter. That was yesterday.”
In June 2020, a Times journalist reportedly planned to doxx—or publicly identify—the anonymous figure behind “SlateStarCodex,” a popular blog in the tech community. The blogger, who claimed anonymity was vital for his safety and livelihood, deleted all posts on the blog, leading to widespread condemnation of the Times.
Blocklists have gained popularity in recent years as a tool for managing one’s experience online. Block Party, a popular blocklist app, bills itself as a “service for tackling online harassment.” In 2015, Twitter rolled out tools to make and share blocklists, but quickly removed the functionality.
Internet theorist L.M. Sacasas pointed out that BlockNYT also functions as a symbol of in-group identity: “The average user of an app like this isn’t really interested in blocking New York Times reporters so much as they are interested in being perceived as the sort of people who block New York Times reporters.” But he also noted that in an era of “information superabundance,” comprehensively blocking a specific outlet may not meaningfully decrease the amount of news the user receives.
That superabundance of information may be driving competition between the Times and tech. A Times piece over the summer documented the flood of journalists moving from legacy media organizations to Substack, an email newsletter platform that allows writers to monetize their writing directly. In a January 25 podcast, Times opinion writer Kara Swisher warned that Donald Trump could reach a mass audience through Substack. The newsletter platform is backed by several major venture-capital firms, including a16z.
by Erik Wemple • Washington Post
The New York Times on Wednesday appended a correction to a story about a climate change study:
Correction: August 9, 2017
An article on Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report referred incorrectly to the availability of the report. While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times.
That correction, which sits at the foot of the story, dutifully straightens out the record. Yet given the magnitude of the screw-up, it should sit atop the story, surrounded by red flashing lights and perhaps an audio track to instruct readers: Warning: This story once peddled a faulty and damaging premise. Continue reading
By Mollie Hemingway • The Federalist
The media’s big problem right now is that everyone in the country knows how they’d be covering yesterday’s shooting if the parties were reversed.
Progressive Democratic activist James Hodgkinson spent years on social media and in local and national politics focusing on his hatred of Republican politicians. On Wednesday, he went after a group of Republican politicians as they practiced baseball in the early morning, shooting a member of the Republican leadership, two capitol police, a legislative aide, and a lobbyist. Rep. Steve Scalise remains in critical condition.
Hodgkinson’s social media trail and the accounts of neighbors leave no question that the man was politically engaged, aligned with progressives, and upset with Republicans.
Some media coverage of the incident has been fine, if restrained. The media have not chosen to make this shooting a referendum on leftist political violence, on the use of extreme rhetoric and conspiracy theorizing by major mainstream media, on the dangers of the resistance movement. There has been no rush to introspection. Continue reading
By Robert Tracinski • The Federalist
They say that mathematics is the language of science, which is a way of saying that science is quantitative. It is moved forward by numbers and measurements, not just by qualitative observations. “It seems hot out” is not science. Giving a specific temperature, measured by a specific process at a specific time, compared to other systematically gathered measurements—that is science.
So when you read an article proclaiming that, for the third year in a row, last year was the hottest year on record, you might expect that right up front you will get numbers, measurements, and a statistical margin of error. You know, science stuff. Numbers. Quantities. Mathematics.
And you would be wrong. Continue reading
by Matt Vespa • Townhall
Senate Democrats are trying to cast Republicans as being remiss in their constitutional duty to consider Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court (they’re not). And the mainstream media, by and large, would support that false narrative. The truth is Senate Republicans are acting no differently with these nominations concerning the politics of it all. Furthermore, The New York Times editorial board didn’t seem so aghast at Republican opposition back in the 1980s, where they openly said that Senate Democrats have “every right to resist” Robert Bork’s nomination:
…[T]he President [Reagan] chose Robert Bork and thus chose angry confrontation. For Judge Bork is not merely a conservative. He has long been a flamboyant provocateur, with a lifetime of writings to prove it. As a result, Mr. Reagan got the rancorous political battle he asked for. Appointment to the Court is a political act yet the Court’s authority depends in large measure on public confidence in its fairness and aloofness from the political cockpit. There’s something to lose when a nomination battle turns brutally partisan. Continue reading
Poor Barack Obama. Ending his fifth year as the world’s most powerful man, he is running out of scapegoats and fairy tales. Blaming George W. Bush has lost its punch, and the ObamaCare debacle is shredding the myths he is competent and honest.
Still, before he rides off into that sunset of self-pity and low poll ratings, he ought to invite his remaining friends over for a heart-to-heart. That way he can tell The New York Times that its fanatical support does him no favors.
Instead, it feeds his arrogance and reinforces his belief that he can solve any problem with another speech. The unflattering truth doesn’t stand a chance — until it is too late. Continue reading