Damned good post from Jay Rosen about the Times’ odd effort to imply and not report a McCain affair.
Here’s what Keller has to say:
“On the substance we think the story speaks for itself. In all the uproar, no one has challenged what we actually reported. On the timing: Our policy is we publish stories when they’re ready. “Ready” means that the facts have been nailed down to our satisfaction, the subjects have all been given a full and fair chance to respond and the reporting has been written up with all the proper context and caveats. This story was no exception. It was a long time in the works. It reached my desk late Tuesday afternoon. After a final edit and a routine check by our lawyers, we published it.”
I think that it’s wishful thinking to say “the story speaks for itself.”
Supposedly, the New Republic was working on a story about the NY Times coverage of this story. Was the NY Times afraid of having a light shone on the dysfunction of their news operation? Today TNR says “The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves.” It’s no longer a story about McCain.
So, if publishing the McCain piece was somehow a pre-emptive (or reactive) move against the looming TNR story how did it help NYT image or reputation in any possible way? The story remains incredibly thin and poorly sourced, TNR still published its own hit piece anyway, and the idea that a magazine is treating the “behind the scenes” goings on at another print medium as “news” baffles most of America. It’s a sad day for journalism.
Thanks, Jeff, for the link to Jay Rosen. He raises some very interesting questions.
“…and the idea that a magazine is treating the ‘behind the scenes’ goings on at another print medium as ‘news’ baffles most of America.”
Forbes did it to TNR. Google Stephen Glass.
From the Politico:
“Sen. John McCainâ€™s presidential campaign claimed vindication Thursday night after a sophisticated 24-hour counterattack turned a potentially lethal story in The New York Times into a conservative call to arms.”
I guess you could call this homeopathic investigative journalism where poison in small doses serves to benefit the intended victim.
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