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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wow, the New York Times Sucks!

As readers will know, La Russophobe recently sent inquiries to three newspapers, the Washington Post, Newsday and the New York Times to inquire about what publications in their pages had been made by David Johnson of Johnson's Russia List fame.

Both the Post and Newsday promptly responded (the Post at the speed of light) and provided the information La Russophobe requested.

The Times however, always arrogant and insular, was another matter. Its editors totally ignored La Russophobe's inquiry, and when she complained about them to the Times' Public Editor, this is the response she got from his assistant Joseph Plambeck:

"This office doesn't not [sic] provide or monitor this kind of research for the public."

Yes, grammar error and all, that was the rude, boorish, arrogant response of the vaunted New York Times -- which, perhaps not surprisingly, has published several letters to the editor from certified lunatic Mike Averko and just undergone two massive scandals involving false reporting on its front page (first Jayson Blair and then Judith Miller). No explanation of why it doesn't provide this service, no apology, no help finding a source who might do so, just the cold, cavalier, brush-off. Apparently, the Times just plain doesn't care if people make misrepresentations about having published in its pages. Probably it has enough to worry about tracking down its own misrepresentations, and trying to sweep them under the carpet. Still, you'd think that the Times would have a slightly better attitude towards customer service, seeing as how there is now so much competition from other papers, TV, Internet and what not (even, dare we say it . . . the dreaded blogs).

Truly, the Times is not what it used to be -- and from the looks of things, like Russia itself, it is not much interested in getting better.

La Russophobe can't help but note the irony that the Times is constantly attacking the Bush adminsitration for being arrogant and insular, and yet the Times itself behaves in exactly the same way.


Anonymous said...

"Truly, the Times is not what it used to be"

Not what it used to be? I can't resist being an old pedant and hope you will forgive me for the good natured gibe but wasn't there once a NYT journalist by the name of Duranty?

Forgotten by some perhaps, but not by many in Ukraine.

I don't think scandals involving false reporting at the NYT are exactly new.

La Russophobe said...

Oh, how interesting! Indeed you are quite right in saying that the existence of Jayson Blair alone probably proves there were many before him who simply didn't manage to get themselves caught and exposed, such that the Times' reputation was vastly inflated even back when it was largely unblemished. And, quite interestingly, though the Times now has an ombudsman it is an explicit rule of his that he will not look at stories from the past, but only those appearing during his reign, since he "hasn't time" (which really just means he hasn't the budget, or else he's corrupt).

However, that being said, it doesn't of course mean that by any stretch the Times had fallen as low as it could go, as witness modern times. In other words, the Times sucked before, but now it sucks even more (hey, that rhymes!). Ironically, just like Russia.

I've always thought it very convenient that the Times editorials have chosen to see Putin as a "transitional figure" -- convenient because this saves them from having to confront all those editorials from the past that said, given the chance, Russians would be democrats. Admit that Russia has a Neo-Soviet future built on free elections and the Times has a mighty big blog of egg on its face, now doesn't it?

I wonder how much time will have to pass before the Times would admit that the "transition" has expired. Eons, no doubt.

Also, of course, it's quite disgusting how the Times has failed to use its resources to aid its fellow journalists in Russia. Looks like its only big and brave when dealing with the evils of American governent in the safety of its ivory tower.