Parents Warn Your Children: NYTimes Shades Truth
04 Mar 2009 16:36 Filed in: Linguistic Shenanigans
The Tired Donkey knows that the visitors to his website are critical readers, but he also knows that most people—donkey and freeloader alike—are not. In fact, most people are idiots. So he presents this object lesson to help his readers educate their children and their co-workers.
This will likely come as no surprise to you, but the New York Times often publishes articles that obscure the truth. Take, for instance, an otherwise interesting piece published today and written by David Leonhardt. The article contains the following paragraph:
The second reason is government policy. The Obama administration plans to raise taxes on the affluent, cut them for everyone else (so long as the government can afford it, that is) and take other steps to reduce inequality. Franklin D. Roosevelt did something similar and it had a huge effect.
The Tired Donkey respectfully suggests that there is something wrong with the information in this paragraph, and he believes you know what it is. Right! It is impossible to cut taxes for “everyone else” since—depending on whether or not you and the NYTimes define “affluent” the same way (the Tired Donkey suspects there would be a difference)—less than half of the people remaining after the affluent are removed pay any taxes that could be cut.
Since this paragraph is short, the Tired Donkey suggests that you have your children and/or idiot coworkers read it. Then ask them if they know what is wrong with it. If they do, congratulate them, remind them that if they choose to read the New York Times they should approach the experience as they would approach a combat patrol in the Waziristan Hills, and, finally, invite them to visit the Tired Donkey. If they do not pick up on the glaring error, mock them without pity and warn them against the danger of believing all they read.