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Monday, September 25, 2017

It's official: NYT couldn't cover a Dumpster fire in its newsroom

How lousy is the New York Times today? Its staff is so inept that it would not be able to cover a Dumpster fire in its newsroom.

Here was the set-up. A staffer ("a contributing writer") for the New York Times Magazine wrote a book. The editors assigned another staffer to review the book.

Not only did the book reviewer pan the book, but she made numerous errors in the review, so many that the Times had to issue a lengthy correction -- which only brought further attention to the author getting a bad review.

Author Vanessa Grigoriadis

The victim was Vanessa Grigoriadis, who also works for Vanity Fair -- where she apparently ran crying (or in fury) to make the Times pay for the mess up.

Vanity Fair ran an article:
A deeply inaccurate book review has set off much consternation, and soul-searching, at 620 Eighth Avenue.
It put a lot of blame on redundancies on the copy desk. Laying off (even through buyouts) scores of experienced copy editors is a good way to screw up your newspaper.

But a better way to screw up your paper is to hire James Bennet. You may recall him as the editor who in an editorial wrongly blamed Sarah Palin for inciting a mass murder in Tucson six years ago.

The book in question is "Blurred Lines" about sex on college campuses. Grigoriadis is 44.

Of course the real blame is on Michelle Goldberg, who wrote the review.

From Vanity Fair:
Goldberg, most recently a writer for Slate, was hired just a couple weeks ago as a columnist on the Times’s Op-Ed desk. She was the latest splashy appointment made by James Bennet, the paper’s august editorial page editor, who returned to the Times from The Atlantic last year and was regarded as a contender to one day succeed executive editor Dean Baquet.
Among the various Times sources I spoke with, there was speculation about how the event might reflect on Bennet, who has already endured a number of headaches during his first year and a half in the job — from backlash over the appointment of conservative-opinion columnist Bret Stephens and the publication of a controversial op-ed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince, to a defamation lawsuit filed by Sarah Palin. (Bennet was called to testify, but a judge eventually dismissed the case.)
While the "Blurred Lines" review was commissioned prior to Goldberg’s September 6 hiring announcement, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the correction-laden piece wasn’t a good look for either Goldberg or her new boss. “It’s very bad optics for James,” a veteran Times kremlinologist suggested. Nevertheless, the masthead appears to have Bennet’s back. “James is doing a terrific job,” Deputy Publisher A.G. Sulzberger told me through a spokesperson, “not only with broadening the range of voices of the columnists and contributors in our Opinion Pages, but also pushing the department to become faster, more creative, and more digitally ambitious than it has ever been.”
"Very bad optics"?

These people are loons.

First the libelous editorial, and now this.

Bennet's brother is a U.S. senator, so I doubt he gets canned.

The Vanity Fair piece ended:
If anything, the response to this controversy may simply underscore a sense of unease within the halls of 620 Eighth Avenue as the Times undergoes important and necessary changes. Change is hard for any company — but especially for a 165-year-old institution where tradition is so deeply embedded in the D.N.A. For its part, the Times emphasized to me its commitment to accuracy in the face of digital-first editorial streamlining.
“Our editing standards and processes are the most robust and rigorous of any news organization,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, a company spokeswoman. “We deeply regret when mistakes happen, but work to correct them as soon as possible. That’s always been the case in our newsroom, and it remains so.”
Things are so bad at the Times that it cannot give one of its own writers a puff review without screwing it up.

Grandpa Surber told me the final days in the buggy whip factory were not pleasant after the automobile came along.

So it is at the newspaper factory.


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

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

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  1. I think you mean dumpster 'fire' instead of 'file'. Though either could work...

    1. Recycle Bin --> Dumpster File --> Biohazard Bin

      The three stages an NYT column goes through prior to publishing.

  2. Yale called the Time this morning, they want their degree back.

    1. Or they're offering a deal on locks once the shutters finally come down permanently at the NYT.

      Either way.

  3. Ron in Ohio Sez:

    BRILLIANT! As those blokes in the Guinness commercials say.

    I bought my own personal computer over 25 years ago and one of the first new tools I discovered was - SPELL CHECKER! - Why, it's so simple that even an ignorant Lib-O (But, I repeat myself) should be able to grasp the concept.

    Yet, those NYT Neanderthals are still locked in their stoned, hammer and chisel method of communication.

  4. Ah, the New York Times is caught up in an epic conundrum of Biblical proportions:

    "And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country." - Luke 4:23

    "But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value." - Job 13:4

    - Elric

  5. But they're professionals with layers and layers of fact checkers, dontcha know.

  6. "It's official: NYT can't cover the Dumpster fire in its newsroom"


  7. Don't hold back, Don, tell us what you really think!

  8. Somebody needs to factcheck Ms. Ha's last sentence.

  9. The NYT has a spokesman named Ha! Is his assistant's name LOL?

  10. What more can I do than laugh at the NYT (preferably with a mouth full of liquid)?