Patterico's Pontifications


Again The NYT Digs In, Again Offers No Evidence To Support Claim

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:03 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The NYT has released yet another defense for having excluded Ted Cruz’s bestselling book from their bestseller list. And again, the paper refuses to provide any evidence whatsoever to back its claim that book sales were due to “strategic bulk purchases” – in spite of investigations by HarperCollins and Amazon revealing otherwise.

In this re-hashing of their previous defense, the paper attempts to deflect any blame by insinuating that HarperCollins is not trustworthy because everyone knows publishing houses want their books on the list. Can you really trust them??

“The notion that we would manipulate the best-seller list to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous. Conservative authors have routinely ranked high on our lists — Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, most recently Ann Coulter, just for a few examples,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy said in a statement. “We have also ranked policy books and memoirs in the past by Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, among many others.”

“I can’t speak to the statements by Amazon or Harper Collins — though obviously publishers are always trying to get their authors on our list — but we are confident in our conclusion about the sales patterns for the Cruz book for the week in question.”

“Our system is designed to detect anomalies and patterns that are typical of attempts to manipulate the rankings,” Murphy said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time and we apply our standards consistently, across the board. The goal is to give Times readers our best assessment of what books are broadly popular at any given time.”

The Cruz camp has responded to the latest NYT non-response:

Rick Tyler, the national spokesperson for the Cruz campaign, emails: “It is strange that The New York Times continues to deny what is now abundantly evident to everyone: Cruz’s book ‘A Time for Truth’ is a legitimate best-seller by any standard. But the ‘Gray Lady’ has chosen to purposely keep the book off its list.”

“Accusations that Cruz or the publisher manipulated book sales has now been refuted by Harper Collins, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble,” Tyler continues. “Moreover, the title has been included by other prestigious best-seller lists including The Wall Street Journal. It would seem in the interest of The New York Times to want to preserve its reputation by hiring an outside auditor but instead they have refused to even show a modicum of accountability or transparency.”

Mediaite is calling for the NYT to put up or shut up:

If this had been a simple Cruz-versus-Times political tumble, the Times would have won. Those who are predisposed to believe the word of Tea Party politicians over the so-called “newspaper of record” would have believed Cruz. But those who the Times relies on for its influence– the media, political and East Coast elites– would have inevitably believed them.

But there are now two respected media institutions backing Cruz. No doubt, HarperCollins has a motive to defend its product’s sales, but Amazon has no dog in this fight. And by continuing to include Cruz’s book on their bestsellers lists despite the controversy, respected organizations like The Wall Street Journal and Nielsen are implicitly saying the Times is wrong.

The converse is also true; by continuing to exclude Cruz, the Times is implicitly saying those respected organizations are either incompetent, hoodwinked, or in the tank for the Texas Republican. Either one is a serious charge; serious enough that it requires evidence behind it.

The Times statement argued forcefully that “the overwhelming preponderance of evidence” was not in Cruz’s favor. If there’s so much evidence pointing in that direction, it should be made public for other outlets and reporters to judge. But again, with such a strong statement, the Times only raises more questions about why other outlets missed this super-duper obvious smoking gun.

If the Times is reluctant to go public with its methodology, the paper can pull a Rolling Stone and hire an independent third party to go through the evidence and issue a public report. It might cost a pretty penny, but surely that’s better than leaving a dark cloud of suspicion hanging over what was the single most respected and cited bestsellers list in America.

I would ask this of the Times higher-ups: how would you react if a reporter’s source leveled an extremely serious allegation against a presidential candidate, said there was soooooo much evidence proving it, and then refused to produce said evidence? I say “would,” because as history has taught us, the Times has no problem passing along innuendo-laden smears of the presumptive Republican nominee.

May the truth will out quickly. No matter where it falls.

p.s. And not coincidentally, the NYT has an article in today’s paper about Amazon being accused of anti-trust violations…


Scott Walker Officially Announces

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:36 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Scott Walker is the latest, and last, top-tier candidate to enter the 2016 GOP presidential race:

“In the Republican field, there are some who are good fighters, but they haven’t won those battles. And there are others who’ve won elections, but haven’t consistently taken on the big fights,” Walker said in an announcement video posted Monday. “We showed you can do both. Now, I am running for President to fight and win for the American people.”

In recent polling data , Walker continued to lead the the GOP presidential pack in Iowa:

Walker is the top choice of 18% of poll respondents. Six other candidates are battling for second place, including businessman Donald Trump and neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10%, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz at 9% and former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio at 8%.

Several more candidates register at 5% or less.

While Walker maintains a lead over the growing field, it is shrinking from earlier polls. He was the top choice of 21% of respondents in May and 25% in February.

The poll also tested favorability ratings and other perceptions of the candidates. Walker again scored high, with 66% of respondents claiming a favorable view of him, against 8% with an unfavorable view.

Walker will be focusing specifically on building an operation in Iowa with aggressive campaigning and a refined conservative message.

However, given that Walker took time off the campaign trail to bone up on national affairs and foreign policy, he is behind in fund-raising as well as having been absent from making appearances in the critical states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. His poll numbers in those states have slipped as a result.

One of Walker’s stated goals will be to first build on and shore up the Republican conservative base.

If anyone is curious as to how the left feels about Walker and his announced candidacy, look no further than what AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had to say:

Scott Walker is a national disgrace.

It’s always helpful when the left reveals its fear. Clearly the bitterness of defeat at the hands of Scott Walker in Wisconsin hasn’t faded. And that’s a good sign for Walker and conservatives.

FYI, recognizing the top three candidates are Bush, Rubio, and Walker, Hillary’s camp sees Walker as most useful to her campaign:

When all is said and done, Democratic strategists looking at the three most realistic general election matchups for Hillary Clinton would be able to create their most winnable narrative around Walker. Walker is a staunchly conservative, middle aged white man with no real pizazz as a candidate and no appeal to anyone outside of Republican’s base constituencies. If Clinton is matched up against Bush or Rubio, it’s going to be a lot more challenging to paint that kind of picture of her opponent.

This after Clinton went after Bush, Rubio and Walker during a speech on economic policay today. Regarding Walker:

And lastly, Clinton went after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — who just entered the presidential race today — for his “mean-spirited, misguided attacks” against workers.

“Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names by stomping on workers’ rights,” she said.

Here’s hoping Walker continues to stomp away at Democracts and their failed policies as he campaigns for the 2016 nomination.


Greece Throws in the Towel

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:12 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Reuters reports that the EU has held a hard line with Greece and that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has acceded to German demands that will once again impose austerity upon the Greek budget and will give EU authorities final say over any budgetary deviations the Greeks may request. This is a humiliating defeat for the cocky young Marxist prime minister who urged his people to reject a much more favorable proposal from the EU in a public referendum one week ago. Tsipras now faces the unenviable position of having to expel the most radical members of his governing coalition in order to convince his parliament to accept these terms, after which time he will likely be forced to resign himself. In the end, the EU concluded they could do without Greece, but the Greeks realized they cannot do without the EU.

Not only should this serve as a valuable lesson on the vulnerability of the European Union, but it should certainly serve as a warning for the Democrat Party here in the U.S. which seems to be deferring to the Sanders/de Blasio/Warren wing on all matters economic. Earlier today, Hillary! Rodham Clinton, the once and future shoo-in for the Presidency, took a swipe at her long-time Wall Street buddies in order to bring her economic agenda more in line with that of the Occupy crowd. It promises to get even more interesting from here.


Amazon Agrees With HarperCollins About The Ted Cruz Book Sales, Time For The NYT To Come Clean (UPDATE: NYT Spokeswoman Responds To Amazon’s Claims)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:51 am

[guest post by Dana]

This morning, Dylan Byers has a follow-up on the exclusion of the Ted Cruz book from the NYT best seller list:

On Sunday, an Amazon spokesperson told the On Media blog that the company’s sales data showed no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity for the Texas senator’s memoir, casting further doubt on the Times’ claim that the book — “A Time For Truth” — had been omitted from its list because sales had been driven by “strategic bulk purchases.”

“As of yesterday, ‘A Time for Truth’ was the number 13 bestselling book, and there is no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity in our sales data,” Sarah Gelman, Amazon’s director of press relations, said in an email.

Amazon’s findings match those of HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, which said Friday that it had “investigated the sales pattern” for Cruz’s book and found “no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization.” Moments after that announcement, Cruz’s campaign issued a press release accusing the Times of lying and calling on the paper to provide evidence of bulk purchasing or else formally apologize.

From the book’s literary agent:

“It’s been a good week and a half with wall-to-wall coverage of the book, and yes, this latest unfortunate news courtesy of the New York Times is a chance to get yet more attention and drive readers to Senator Cruz’s book,” Keith Urbahn, the book’s literary agent, said last week. “This controversy is already helping sales.”

On Friday evening, after NYT Public Editor Margaret Sullivan made inquiry about the fracas, NYT spokeswoman Eileen Murphy was still sticking to her “story”:

First off, the notion that we would manipulate the best-seller list to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous. Conservative authors have routinely ranked high on our lists — Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, most recently Ann Coulter, just for a few examples. I can’t speak to HarperCollins’s statements — though obviously they want their authors to appear on our list — but we do a detailed analysis of sales every week. We’ve been doing this a long time, and we apply our standards consistently across the board. We are confident in our conclusion about the sales patterns for the Cruz book.

We aren’t going to discuss the details of how we do our analysis, since the whole point is to try to minimize the possibility that people can manipulate the numbers.

And we run our methodology with the list online.

The Cruz campaign has demanded a public apology from the NYT or proof to back up their claims. In the same way that Murphy claimed “the overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases”, we’ll see how she responds to this latest “overwhelming preponderance of evidence” that clearly contradicts her claims as to why Cruz’s book was, and is, excluded from the bestseller list.


UPDATE: NYT spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy continues to give Cruz’s book an unintended boost in sales as she pushes back against HarperCollins, and now Amazon:

“The Times’s best-seller lists are based on a detailed analysis each week of book sales from a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context for their sales,” newspaper spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in an e-mailed statement. “We are confident in our conclusion about the sales patterns for the Cruz book for the week in question.”

“Our system is designed to detect anomalies and patterns that are typical of attempts to manipulate the rankings,” Ms. Murphy said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time and we apply our standards consistently, across the board.”

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