Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sorry, Alex Williams -- The Onion Had The "Swaggering Decline" Story Back In October.

Yet again, the NYT has tried to represent a Styles section story as a scoop, when in fact the news had already been broken by the crack reporting team at its crosstown rival, The Onion. This time it's the section's lead piece tomorrow about New York City's loss of swagger in the wake of the economic downturn.

From the NYT's Styles section lead story, "When The Action Moves On," by Alex Williams:

The sudden downturn has affected the very industries that give New York its identity — finance, media, advertising, real estate, even tourism — with extreme prejudice.

The result is that some New Yorkers feel that the city is losing, along with many jobs, its swagger and its sense of pre-eminence, which is no small matter in a town where many feel like it takes an outsize swagger to survive.

From The Onion's page-one story, "Swaggering Down 87%," October 24, 2008:

According to an alarming new study published Monday in The Journal Of Applied Behavioral Science, the time-honored American activity of swaggering, an extremely arrogant manner of walking, has dropped by nearly 90 percent since 2007.

The severe economic turmoil of recent weeks and the United States' diminished credibility and moral standing on the world stage are just two of the major factors named in the study as contributing to the precipitous decline in self-important locomotion.

"Our research indicates that American swaggering has dropped to levels drastically lower even than those reached during the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s," said Dr. Lionel Macleod, a New York University behavioral psychology professor and lead author of the report. "Sadly, a brash, wide-legged gait accompanied by an overconfident smile and one jauntily raised eyebrow may soon be a thing of the past."

Sorry, Alex. The Onion got there first.

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