New York Times reporters: oh so smart!

I rolled my eyes when I read this last week but didn’t feel it worthy of comment because everyone (except fans of the NYT) knows that their reporters are deliberately ignorant, but the Professor has some fitting observations.



Kate Zernike of the New York Times describes how tea-party activists explore “dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas” and study “once-obscure texts” by “long-dead authors.” She is of course referring to Friedrich Hayek, whose book The Road to Serfdom was excerpted inReader’s Digest and never has been out of print, whose Nobel Prize for economics in 1972 celebrated the importance and mainstream acceptance of his thinking, and whose death in 1992 isn’t exactly ancient history.


If they didn’t learn it in college, it’s “obscure.” Which, alas, merely highlights the inadequacy of their educations. (I, on the other hand, took a semester-long seminar on Hayek in college.) At any rate, the “obscure” Road to Serfdom is currently #56 on Amazon.

Related: Stuart Schneiderman: Who’s Smarter Now?

UPDATE: Reader Michael Costello writes: “How long has Karl Marx been dead? And Friedrich Hayek outlived Saul Alinsky by 20 years.”



If I had said a day ago that your typical New York Times reporter doesn’t have the vaguest sense of what the rule of law means, I would have heard from all sorts of earnest liberal readers — and probably some conservative ones too – about how I was setting up a straw man. But now we know it’s true. It’s not just that she doesn’t know what it is, it’s that even after (presumably) looking it up, she still couldn’t describe it and none of her editors raised an eyebrow when she buttered it.

The claims of superior intellect on the part of the legacy media seem unfounded.


I was reading Von Hayek in high school, back in the $5,000 per student days, purely from intellectual curiosity. That’s something the Times reporters seem to lack.


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6 responses to “New York Times reporters: oh so smart!

  1. Demmerkrat Patriot

    Even FANS of the NYT realize some of their reporters are dumb as a box of rocks.

  2. Inagua

    Dmmerkrat Patroit,

    The reporter (and her editor) are not dumb. They are intelligent and no doubt highly educated. They are ignorant of the concept of the rule of law and the identity of a major economic thinker because they have never been exposed to these subjects. This is what happens when schools drop courses like Western Civilization and go for stuff like self-esteem, womens studies, and global warming.

    • Agreed, Inagua, but good Lord – I was a rabid anti-war yippie in high school, and I still wanted to learn about “the other side”. And in college, after I come to my senses (George McGovern will do that to any sensate human being) I still read and studied Hegel, Marx and contemporary Marxists. I’m not, and never was, a genius, just an average Joe with an interest in what’s going on. The Times hires brilliant kids from Yale but they seem to have no intellectual curiosity. What a waste of brain power.

  3. Inagua


    This is not “other side” stuff. This poor woman actually has no idea what the rule of law means. She is totally ignorant of one of the foundational blocks of her own society. It is a tragedy that someone can graduate from college, get a job at the newspaper of record, and publish a book while literally living in intellectual darkness.

  4. CatoRenasci

    The bottom line Chris, is that these elite educations did not involve reading the Western canon – including a real study of Hegel or Marx, or even the Marxists (e.g. Marcuse) we all read, who were classically grounded. Marxists, of course, find the rule of law to be nonsense.

    Not only that, they know almost no history (beyond Howard Zinn) and so do not understand that ideas have consequences, and that the ideas their professors have foisted upon them have had particularly deadly and pernicious consequences whenever tried.

    The true radical anti-war yippie of yesterday is today’s libertarian.

  5. Peg

    I think that at least part of it is that somehow, their political and philosophical beliefs have become religious dogma. No counter evidence to what they think is so can permeate their True Beliefs.

    And – there are so many out there, congregated in fields like journalism and professordom – that getting an honest exposure to various points of view seems to be an impossibility.

    Too bad. I, like you, Chris, always want to see what the “other side” thinks – and why they think it. Once in a while, I actually do change my viewpoint because I really do listen.