February 4, 2014

The NYT public editor registers 2 polite objections (where strong criticism would make more sense).

1. "As the Latest Christie Story Evolved, The Times Should Have Noted a Change."
“We made dozens of changes to this story, and it’s all happening live in front of the reader,” he said. “The story probably went through two dozen versions.” Editors can’t be expected to describe each one of those changes, [the Metro editor, Wendell Jamieson said].

And he added that no change, including the one I mention above, “alters the essential truth of the story, which is that a former Christie ally has opened fire on him in a big way.”
What an outrageous move! Defining something as "the essential truth" so that the thing that did change appears inconsequential: What really matters was that Christie was getting attacked, not the assertion that the attacker was in possession of "evidence" against Christie. But it was that evidence that got everyone excited, which was the point of the big scoop that Jamieson seeks to defend. The public editor, Margaret Sullivan, mildly chides him. There should have been "some sort of notice" of this edit.

2. "On Kristof’s Column About Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen..." Sullivan says that she's "troubled by the same questions raised" in email sent to her by a professor named Chris Rasmussen, whom she quotes:
The writers who are permitted to “columnize” for The Times have a tremendously influential platform, and I wonder whether they should use that platform to advocate on behalf of personal friends, as Mr. Kristof did yesterday....
Personal friends? Sullivan does not provide any detail about this personal friendship. I clicked the link to see Kristof's own disclosure, which specifies who the friendship is with, but not the degree of warmth and interaction: "I am a friend of her mother, Mia, and brother Ronan, and that’s how Dylan got in touch with me." That disclosure appears only at the column, not at the blog post, which is where Dylan's open letter appears in full and thus the page most people are reading. Can't Sullivan do more than say she's "troubled" and that there are "questions"? I had to Google "what is nicholas kristof's friendship with mia farrow" in an effort to get details. I found this at a website the credibility of which I don't know:
But Kristof and Farrow aren’t just ‘friends.’ They are close friends. Romantic? I’m not suggesting that. They travel together, Kristof writes about Farrow often, he Tweets and re-Tweets her.
Why couldn't Sullivan extract details from Kristof?

Come on, Sullivan, be there for us. Yes, yes, I know. You're all going to say that of course the "public editor" position is NYT PR and a fraud.

35 comments:

mesquito said...

Another NYT drive-by.

Rob McLean said...

You're all going to say that of course the "public editor" position is NYT PR and a fraud.

You're welcome.

campy said...

Yes, yes, I know. You're all going to say that of course the "public editor" position is NYT PR and a fraud.

Darn us all for being so gauche as to point out obvious truths.

ddh said...

The NYT wouldn't recklessly publish stuff just because it puts Republicans in a bad light, not with its layers and layers of fact-checkers and editors. Why, that would mean that the Times is hiding behind the libel laws to smear political opponents.

Gee, I wonder whatever became of Sen. McCain's mistress?

ddh said...

The NYT wouldn't recklessly publish stuff just because it puts Republicans in a bad light, not with its layers and layers of fact-checkers and editors. Why, that would mean that the Times is hiding behind the libel laws to smear political opponents.

Gee, I wonder whatever became of Sen. McCain's mistress?

JoyD said...

I read the NYT with a whole teaspoon of salt.

JustOneMinute said...

Too bad the Public editor didn't tackle this bit of confusion provided by Kristof in his column:

"A firestorm erupted in 1992 over allegations described as “inappropriate touching” — in fact, what Dylan recounts is far worse, a sexual assault. She was 7 years old."

"Sexual assault" is a broad category stretching from rape to fondling. From the open letter, Dylan Farrow's allegation is vague - "He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me" - but other disgraceful behavior she attributes to Allen sounds like inappropriate touching.

Too subtle for the Times editors.

PB Reader said...

I wouldn't use the NY Times to wrap fish.

JustOneMinute said...

Can we re-litigate the allegation? This is from a recently unearthed (and re-publicshed_ 1976 People Magazine interview with Woody Allen, so we believe every word, including the final paragraph:

"He [Allen] goes on: "I'm open-minded about sex. I'm not above reproach; if anything, I'm below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him." Allen pauses. "Nothing I could come up with would surprise anyone," he ventures helplessly. "I admit to it all."

Ann Althouse said...

""A firestorm erupted in 1992 over allegations described as “inappropriate touching” — in fact, what Dylan recounts is far worse, a sexual assault. She was 7 years old.""

Thanks for focusing on that. I hadn't noticed that, even though my blog post on the subject says:

"Dylan Farrow writes: he "sexually assaulted" her. I'm putting that in quotes not to express disbelief, but to observe the generality of the term. We're told that she was playing with an electric train but not what body part of his came into what sort of contact with what body part of hers. We're told "what he did to me in the attic felt different" from other things he did that she also did not like. Those other things are specified: He had her under the covers in bed with him when he was "in his underwear." He put his thumb in her mouth. He put "his head in [her] naked lap.""

Obviously, I agree with you: Kristof's "far worse," based on the term "sexually assaulted" is either a devious trick, pathetic ignorance of the legal concept, or evidence that he knows additional details that don't appear in Dylan's open letter.

Sullivan should have called him on that.

James Pawlak said...

Mr. Christie has not publicly and "loudly" rejected the support of the terrorism-supporting organization known as the "Congress on American Islamic Relations" (CAIR).

Is he to be trusted in other matters?

FleetUSA said...

Sadly, the NYT has become a fraud.

RecChief said...

I can remember when rewrites happened BEFORE publishing

Oso Negro said...

Never forget that this enterprise took more than 50 years to correct their misreporting of the Holodomor.

AReasonableMan said...

Apparently cruel neutrality does not extend to creepy sexual predators when they make womin's films.

AReasonableMan said...

It is difficult to imagine Althouse constructing this same elaborate defense if Michael Bay was the sexually predatory film maker in question.

Jon Burack said...

AReasonableMan, I do not at all get your remark about Ann and Michael Bay. I see no reason to think she would deal any differently were the same vague insinuations made about him.

Is it some political dimension you think differentiates Michael Bay from Woody Allen. I am puzzled. The Dylan charges were published in the very liberal New York Times at the behest of the very liberal Kristoff. Yet I see a veritable lynch mob of rightie outrage directed at Woody Allen on the presumption there is some liberal bias in defending him.

Just asking, because your comment is not clear.

AReasonableMan said...

Jon Burack said...
Just asking, because your comment is not clear.


Althouse is not being neutral. It is inconceivable that she would mount the same elaborate defense of Michael Bay in the same circumstances. She is favoring a certain kind of middlebrow artiste because that is the style of art that she personally favors.

EDH said...

Hey, Just One Minute...

"Do you know what your are?!"

Paul Fraker said...

She is easily the most milque-toast PE they've had. Byron Calame was by far the best. In his last column, he wrote the following. It is hard to imagine Sullivan writing it. "Skepticism, something I’ve found too often missing, needs to be nurtured and kept healthier at all levels of editing. While I have not been able to observe firsthand the culture of Times news meetings, it’s my sense that department heads seldom challenge or question the enterprise stories pitched for Page 1 by their peers in charge of other sections."

Jon Burack said...

AReasonableMan,

"Inconceivable"? Really. You know this how?

It does not seem "reasonable" to me to assert this, or consistent with Aristotle's logic.

Ann likes the middlebrow artiste style of art.
Woody Allen is a middlebrow artiste
Therefore . . .?

Or as Woody himself noted:
Socrates is a man
All men are mortal
Therefore all men are Socrates

But perhaps you have other sources of insight.

AReasonableMan said...

Jon Burack said...
It does not seem "reasonable" to me to assert this, or consistent with Aristotle's logic.


You've posted before with hysterical defenses of Woody Allen. No one will be looking to you for a rational argument here.

Biff said...

I think that articles by major news organizations like the NYT, WaPo, etc. all should include detailed change histories, like Wikipedia articles, so that readers can see exactly how the text -- and The Narrative -- has changed over time.

madAsHell said...

Why would anyone engage AReasonableMan?

There are at least two falsehoods in his name....perhaps more.

Skipper said...

More "fake but accurate" reporting. It's an epidemic, the exception of Democrats, where the reporting is "ignore and it doesn't exist."

EMD said...

“I’m open-minded about sex. I’m not above reproach; if anything, I’m below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him,” Allen tells Jim Jerome, the reporter. “Nothing I could come up with would surprise anyone. I admit to it all.”

The problem is I could say the same thing, as a joke, but I would've at least thought to make them 17 or 18 year olds.

Twelve year olds in the service of this humor is perverse and strangely telling.

The Godfather said...

On the Christie story, the difference between saying you have evidence and saying evidence exists is huge, and any reporter must know that. Not flagging the change as a correction was highly unprofessional. Saying that the "real" story is that Christie is being attacked by a former ally wouldn't fool anyone.

Imagine if the first story had said "evidence exists" and then the revised version was "I have evidence". Can anyone doubt that the Times would have highlighted the change?

mccullough said...

Nick Kristoff should have been fired after he defamed Steven Hatfill as the anthrax letter murderer. That the NY Times still employs him is a disgrace.

Martha said...

Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan District Attorney's office, was on Imus this morning talking about Dylan Farrow's New York Times open letter . She essentially said Mia Farrow coached the child, that Dylan might believe she was sexually molested but that a thorough investigation at the time --including an evaluation at Yale child psychiatric unit lasting 6 months--
concluded that NO sexual assault had occurred.

Martha said...

Link to the Linda Fairstein interview:

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3151187744001/linda-fairsteins-take-on-dylan-farrows-open-letter/#sp=show-clips

Bill Harshaw said...

Don't know why the paid minions of the NYT can't do what the unpaid contributors to wikipedia do: give a one-line description of every change made.

Lydia said...

Woody never had a chance. Not only was Alan Dershowitz Mia's lawyer in the custody battle, but Sinatra also offered his help, asking Dershowitz “Well, beyond the legal case, what can I do to call Woody off?” Which made Dershowitz a bit nervous.

AReasonableMan said...

madAsHell said...
Why would anyone engage AReasonableMan?


Coward.

grackle said...

Yes, yes, I know. You're all going to say that of course the "public editor" position is NYT PR and a fraud.

Yes, and we know that you will continue to treat the NYT as a serious news source. This, in the face of the NYT's constant equivocation, extreme partisanship and outright lying.

Mary E. Glynn said...

She essentially said Mia Farrow coached the child, that Dylan might believe she was sexually molested but that a thorough investigation at the time --including an evaluation at Yale child psychiatric unit lasting 6 months--
concluded that NO sexual assault had occurred.
--------


I bet woody allen is held in verrry huigh esteem in the psychiatric circles and if he couldn't charm women already pre-disposed to favoring him, he could make sure some money changed hands to make sure the 'truth' came out...

The courtroom experts are usually very well paid. Dylan presumably was not.

Soon-yi was well compensated for those photos, lifelong support. Good thing mom found 'em, otherwise, who woulda believed such a thing...?