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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Yes, NYT is a failing newspaper -- and not just financially

After President Trump called the New York Times a failing newspaper, the newspaper's management. From CNBC on February 2: "The New York Times not 'failing,' Trump taken in by 'fake news,' NYT CEO says."

But the Times is a failure. Financially. Ethically. And soon, grammatically. Two recent stories make this clear.

The Times is a toy of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Recently, the Times divulged the name of our CIA chief in Iran because it wanted to reverse President Trump's anti-Iranian policy. Outrageous.

A decade ago, President Bush 43 begged the Times not to disclose a secret but perfectly legal way to stop the funding terrorists.

The Times ignored his pleas. Who knows how many people terrorists killed because European banks stopped cooperating after the program became public knowledge.

My normal readers may deduce which side the Times is on in the War Against Terrorists.

But there is more. The Columbia Journalism Review interviewed and wrote about the Times public editors, a program it closed because it is running out of money -- and also it tired of being embarrassed by its in-house critic.

From the Review:
Barney Calame, the second public editor, took on the role after almost 40 years at The Wall Street Journal. He described one especially tight spot during his tenure while addressing the ethical issues raised by the reporting of a story about child pornography during the rise of webcam technology. It was a tremendous undertaking by the reporter, Kurt Eichenwald, a seasoned journalist. It focused on Justin Berry, 18-years-old at the time of the 2005 article, who had entered a dark pocket of the internet as a webcam porn star and promoter. Eichenwald documented the young man’s journey out of that world.
The public editor is charged with reviewing the work of the Times’ staff, so Calame’s mission in this case was to revisit how Eichenwald reported the piece after his methods were questioned.  Eichenwald misrepresented himself when he first met Berry by not revealing that he was a reporter. Later he paid him $2,000 dollars for an in-person interview.
Eichenwald said he had been acting as a private citizen to help the young man, but then would put on his journalism hat when appropriate to cover the story. The question Calame had to answer was whether that approach was ethically sound.
Barney Calame: “You just can’t say well, ‘I’m doing this as a private citizen and then I’m going to turn and change and be a journalist.’ In that case he had contaminated the well…[You say], ‘Listen boss. I’ve been trying to help this kid and it turns out he’s a really interesting case. And I mean, I’ve gotten involved helping him and so obviously it can’t be me. But somebody should go after this story.’ And you have somebody else do it.”
Calame was getting lunch one afternoon following the publication of his first column critiquing Eichenwald, when he heard the voice of Bill Keller, then the executive editor of the Times. According to Calame, Keller walked up to him in the cafeteria and said, “Well, Calame, what are you doing this week to ream us a new asshole?” (When I asked Keller about this incident he said, “I have no memory. It doesn’t sound like something I’d have said.”)
So the Times is disloyal and unethical.

We knew that.

It will soon be as fact-checked and copy-edited about as well as a college newspaper.

Digiday interviewed one of the copy editors who survived another round of layoffs:
Things deteriorated a little bit. We have more copy. It started feeling more like shoveling. [Before,] you might be working three [stories]. You had the opportunity to check facts and make sure the grammar was correct. Here, I had eight stories on a recent night, and I was just buried. I could hardly get up to go to the bathroom. The shift has been to get it up as quickly as possible and catch things on the fly. That isn’t the way The New York Times used to do it. Now, we’ll just give it a read, and off it goes. Then, you find out a name is misspelled. Or there isn’t a first reference to a name. Or a fact is wrong. When we shifted to this new system, people started spotting little things that were getting in the paper. We’re sort of the last line of defense and an invisible line of defense.
I have seen what happens when they cut the copy desk at other newspapers. It isn't pretty, which is why I believe this single-source account.

President Trump is not blowing smoke when he calls the New York Times a failing newspaper.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's election.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's nomination.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Autographed copies of both books are available by writing me at

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  1. One more (unnecessary) reason to abhor the NYT.

  2. Nature abhors a vacuum. When American car companies were producing junk, just slapping them together back in the 70s, the Japanese stepped in. Now, there are more than a few people who'll only go with Honda or Toyota. It got passed down generationally. Those who do not learn from history, know the rest.

  3. interesting. the newspapers' business model now does not support the actual process of producing a newspaper.

  4. So Eichenwald used $2000 of NYT money to reimburse a teen male prostitute for services rendered?

  5. The NYT may have increased circulation, but the paper is losing money like water through a sieve. Sooner or later Carlos Slim with cut bait and run.

  6. I now only read "of" the NYT. I cannot and will not support them in any way - they have become - literally - treasonous. The cartoon is not wrong.

  7. The Times has been failing since the day "Pinch" Sulzberger took over. The late Andrew Rosenthal when he was Executive Editor of the Times would never have allowed Eichenwald's article go to print. Rosenthal is supposed to have told a reporter who wanted to join a protest demonstration he was assigned to cover, "OK, the rule is, you can [make love to] an elephant if you want to, but if you do you can't cover the circus." circus.


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