Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times has attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Her offense? Criticizing the appointment of yet another Wall Street banker to a top economic post.
Sorkin's periodic defenses of the powerful are no longer unexpected. More surprising is the overall theme of this attack, which characterizes the congenial senator as enraged and wrathful, and her position as petty and irrational.
Sen. Warren is presumably inured to hyperbolic Wall Street-based criticism by now. And, like any woman in a position of power, she is probably sadly accustomed to male commentary which emphasizes a supposed emotionality.
As one of our most powerful speakers on economic injustice and Wall Street fraud, Warren needs no help defending herself. Rather, it is Sorkin's piece which warrants further examination, both for its failed arguments and -- yes, it must be said -- the misplaced intensity of his own emotions.
Hell hath no fury like a journalist scorned.
Let's get the emotions out of the way first, since they're such a conspicuous element of Sorkin's critique. Mr. Sorkin is the editor of Dealbook, the Times' financial website, so he presumably has the ability to determine his own headline. This piece is entitled "Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Misplaced Rage at Obama's Treasury Nominee."
Sorkin never gets around to demonstrating that the Senator is, in fact, enraged. But he sure says it a lot, in as many different ways as possible. "She said she was furious that the president would nominate someone from Wall Street," Sorkin writes of Sen. Warren's Huffington Post commentary on the nomination of banker Antonio Weiss.
But Sorkin has misstated the facts. Sen. Warren never describes herself as "furious." In fact, she never characterizes her own emotional state at all. Warren's piece is strongly worded but is not especially harsh or vituperative. That doesn't prevent Sorkin from going on to say that "it is rare to see such ferocious opposition to a nominee..."
Really? Has he listened to any Republicans react to an Obama appointment lately?
Sorkin goes on to say that "Ms. Warren's wrath is misdirected."... that "Ms. Warren is unhappy" about Weiss' career, and that she "reserves a special rage" for Weiss' role in Burger King's Canadian merger and tax deal. Sorkin also allows a Burger King director -- hardly a disinterested party -- to characterize Sen. Warren's behavior as "politics at its worst."
Why all this emotional talk? While Sen. Warren is a woman, she is also a progressive, and it is also possible that Sorkin has fallen victim to Wall Street's stereotypical view of its critics as "extreme" and "angry." (Tim Geithner's memoir is Exhibit A.) This canard has allowed bankers, along with their fans in journalism and government, to ignore thoughtful and reasoned criticism from a broad array of sources.
Whatever his motives, it is Mr. Sorkin who is clearly "furious." He may be projecting those emotions onto Sen. Warren.
The wrong man for the job.
Sorkin isn't any stronger on Warren's substance than he is on her style. He writes, for example, that she's "unhappy that (Weiss) has spent much of his career doing what she calls 'international transactions.'"
Is Sorkin disputing that characterization of Weiss' work as Global Head of Investment Banking for Lazard? An online bio states that "Mr. Weiss has advised many of the world's leading corporations in their most significant strategic transactions, with a focus on cross-border or contested activity." (Emphasis ours.)