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Daily Archives: June 19, 2012

1963 photo from Birmingham, Alabama.

FIREFIGHTERS’ UNION PRESIDENT: “We rely on the sound, unbiased work of real reporters and editors to bring us the news, but on June 16, Andy Marlette and the Pensacola News Journal violated that standard by printing a senseless, confusing and bigoted illustration that should never have reached print.”

CARTOONIST ANDY MARLETTE: “In the context of the mass layoffs of Alabama’s journalists, the cartoon is a dark comment on the fact that the most sinister things happen — in fact have always happened — when nobody is there to show and tell about them.”

* Firefighters want Pensacola News Journal to apologize for cartoon (pnj.com)
* Read the union’s full statement about the cartoon (Ricks Blog)
* Earlier: Cartoonist Andy Marlette isn’t afraid of controversy (The Compass)

* Alleged body-parts killer is back in Canada (Metro Winnipeg)



* Alec Baldwin punches New York Daily News photographer outside of Marriage License Bureau (“The New York Daily News”)
* Read Baldwin’s version of the incident on his Twitter feed (@alecbaldwin)

D.C-based New York Times political reporter Mark Leibovich has been named New York Times Magazine chief national correspondent. He’ll also contribute to The Times’ Style section.

Statement from Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren:

Mark Leibovich


I am thrilled that Mark Leibovich is joining the magazine as Chief National Correspondent. I’ve loved the stories he’s been writing for The Times (such as his recent piece on Joe Biden) and have been clamoring to get him into our pages. It was a cruel twist of fate that Mark went on book leave shortly after I took over as editor of the magazine, although I was lucky enough to accept the National Magazine Award he won for his profile of Politico’s Mike Allen. There will be more like that coming soon. His style is so naturally suited to what we do. He understands exactly how the culture of Washington interacts with the culture of the whole country. As we head into the home-stretch of the presidential race, he’ll be covering politics and the campaign, alongside Matt Bai and Robert Draper. He will also venture into other areas such as media, pop culture and sports. Mark’s expertise, excitement and vitality will be a major presence at the magazine going forward.

Styles editor Stuart Emmrich says:

Mark’s wide range of interests and talents make him an ideal contributor for Styles. As a complement to his longer work for the magazine, Mark’s new role will allow him to turn his keenly observational eye on some of the more intriguing political characters during this campaign season (and beyond).

UPDATE: The New Yorker has put Editors’ Notes on five of Jonah Lehrer’s posts. They all close with this line: “We regret the duplication of material.”

Laura Hazard Owen writes on paidContent: “Lehrer shouldn’t be excused for cribbing from himself. But in some ways, it’s not that surprising that it happened.” Why? Because, she says, Big Ideas aren’t unlimited.

——

Last Tuesday, The New Yorker posted Jonah Lehrer’s “Why Smart People Are Stupid.” It begins this way:

Jonah Lehrer


Here’s a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs ten cents. This answer is both obvious and wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat.)

For more than five decades, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, has been asking questions like this and analyzing our answers. His disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way we think about thinking. While philosophers, economists, and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents—reason was our Promethean gift—Kahneman, the late Amos Tversky, and others, including Shane Frederick (who developed the bat-and-ball question), demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.

Last October 15, the Wall Street Journal published a Jonah Lehrer piece headlined “The Science of Irrationality,” It began this way:

Here’s a simple arithmetic question: “A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs 10 cents. This answer is both incredibly obvious and utterly wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and $1.05 for the bat.) What’s most impressive is that education doesn’t really help; more than 50% of students at Harvard, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology routinely give the incorrect answer.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, has been asking questions like this for more than five decades. His disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way that we think about thinking. While philosophers, economists and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents, Mr. Kahneman and his scientific partner, the late Amos Tversky, demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.

I called NewYorker.com editor Nicholas Thompson and asked if he was aware that Lehrer’s June 12 post was a rewrite of his Wall Street Journal piece. He said he wasn’t. He’s now trying to reach Lehrer, who is in California.

Thompson tells Romenesko readers: “It’s a mistake. We’re not happy. It won’t happen again.”

* “Why Smart People Are Stupid” (New Yorker)
* “The Science of Irrationality” (Wall Street Journal)
* June 5: Jonah Lehrer leaves Wired to join The New Yorker (Capital New York)

UPDATE: “A bit of digging by Daily Intel shows that it’s not the first time the prolific Lehrer, who’s contributed to the New York Times Magazine and “Radiolab,” has doubled up,” writes Joe Coscarelli in New York magazine.

Jeff Bezos

* Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos uses his fortune to fund what some might consider far-fetched plans. (Wall Street Journal)
* Of 350 nationally distributed public radio programs, half of all national listening is done to 17 shows. (New York Times)
* Why NBC didn’t air its entire Jerry Sandusky interview last November. (Sherman Report)
* Why conservatives love MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. (Buzzfeed.com)
* Health care reform debate gets most attention from liberal talk show hosts. (Journalism.org)
* Ken Doctor says of Salon.com: “You’ve got to ask: How essential are they and to whom?” (San Jose Mercury News)
* John Cook on the de-Watergating of American journalism. (Gawker)
* Gawker wants all of America to know that Anderson Cooper is gay. (Capital New York)
* Hearst is moving Road & Track magazine’s headquarters from California to Ann Arbor. (Crain’s)
* NewsDiffs shows changes made to CNN and New York Times stories after they’re published. (New York Observer)