Thursday, January 12th, 2012

'Times' Poll: Should or Should We Not Print Lies?

Everyone is pretty aghast and/or in stitches over today's weird and kinda embarrassing escapade by the New York Times public editor, Arthur Brisbane: "I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about." Not just when; whether! A list of people currently making fun of this runs from editors of city papers to New Yorker correspondents to totally random unemployed people to… well, the Times staffers are all sitting on their hands right now. GOSH, HOW THAT MUST BURN.

How does this argument even go, anyway? PRO: Sure! Let the record reflect whatever people say, that way we have a record of it. CON: No, definitely not! The newspaper should report all lies unchallenged!

(Also, oh yes, let's have readers—aka BLOG COMMENTERS—provide the "input" on these issues. Er, no offense, some of my best friends are blog commenters.) Anyway, haven't seen Twitter make so much fun of one person since, hmm… a SuperBowl half-time show, or maybe that time that ESPN became the LeBron network? Hey, only 18 months till Arthur Brisbane's term is up.

Previously: Man Attacks 'Times' Success on Behalf of Its Readers.

33 Comments / Post A Comment

atipofthehat (#797)

BBC reporter: "Yes, but isn't that complete and total nonsense? In fact, isn't the opposite actually true?"

NYT reporter: "'The Earth is flat, say sources at the Flat Earth Society. Some astronomers, however, may disagree."

@atipofthehat Sure, Paxman, Jon Snow, some others. But we've got the Elder Wallace and friends. The fact is most BBC content is along the lines of "David Cameron announced today that trade unions are costing Britain jobs and killing puppies." And then they bring in Screechy Lady Stereotype or Flummoxed Plumber Stereotype to defend Labour. It's a step up in many ways but it ain't so great as all that.

atipofthehat (#797)

@My Number Is My Address

I know. I know. But in the context of the USA, even the blessed RUDENESS of it would be a step up.

As long as they precede every lie, falsehood, deliberately misleading half-truth, or red-eyed raving speculation with "people are saying" then it's all cool.

shudder (#5,913)

Links to funny tweets please!

La Cieca (#1,110)

I want to know what a veteran vegetarian has to say about this.

@La Cieca : Some of them say that yoga will kill you. Others, however, disagree.

sharilyn (#4,599)

All kidding aside, this is absolutely shameful for the Paper of Record.

deepomega (#1,720)

The Gray Lady is rill rill busy talking about summer camps for rich kids, how will they ever have time to fact check?

BadUncle (#153)

Either way, the NYT's coverage of trends will remain unimpeachable.

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

I confidently predict "reader input" will make no difference whatsoever, and not just because such solicitations are generally pro forma. The main reason NYT reporters and other so-called journalists don't "challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about" is presumably that if they did, said "newsmakers" would retaliate by cutting off the so-called access held dear by said so-called journalists – they wouldn't be pals of the rich and powerful anymore. In other words, it's cowardice, and of a particularly contemptible variety. It may also be stupidity or laziness, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly cowardice, because the lies have become so outrageous that it hardly takes much intelligence or effort to recognize them.

Pop Socket (#187)

"All the lies that are fit to print."

KarlLaFong (#3,568)

"…Ms. Miller, whose preposterous lies on behalf of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush helped to launch the Iraq war, resulting in thousands of deaths, was last seen laughing all the way to the Lefte Banke, and could not be reached for comment."

jfruh (#713)

I'd find this a lot funnier if it didn't happen the day after I finally decided to pay for an online subscription.

Mr. B (#10,093)

@jfruh My discovery that all it takes to get around the paywall is deleting your NYT-specific cookies surely ranks with Philip Larkin's realization that he could leave a play during the intermission.

@Mr. B It's even easier than that (selecting and deleting part of the url) but should be reserved for people who really can't pay. Like me.

Mr. B (#10,093)

@My Number Is My Address Ha, well, signing up for a legit subscription is also on my list of things to do once I'm gainfully re-employed.

hman (#53)

Whether and When would be a good band name.

Graydon Gordian (#3,206)

@hman There is no such thing as a good band name.

BoHan (#29)

Whoa. They were quite clear that men who write fashion blogs are hetero he-men.

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