Thursday, December 17, 2009

NY Times stoops to new low … lobbied unnamed journalistic prize committee against awards to WSJ

This incredible revelation came to light in a letter Monday from Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thompson to a number of news organizations. It was a response to a NY Times article by David Carr entitled “Under Murdoch, Tilting Rightward at the Journal.”

Carr's somewhat snarky article accused the Journal of tainting its reputation as “one of the crown jewels of journalism” into a more mundane conservative newspaper and that it was assuming a pro-business, anti government stance. The Times accusing the Journal of sullying its reputation with biased journalism??? What chutzpah! The Journal’s response was quoted in Editor and Publisher which was a recipient of the letter.

It contained the incendiary allegation that Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times lobbied against the Journal’s “journalists and journalism” with a prize committee. 

"The news column by a Mr David Carr today is yet more evidence that The New York Times is uncomfortable about the rise of an increasingly successful rival while its own circulation and credibility are in retreat. The usual practice of quoting ex-employees was supplemented by a succession of anonymous quotes and unsubstantiated assertions. The attack follows the extraordinary actions of Mr Bill Keller, the Executive Editor, who, among other things, last year wrote personally and at length to a prize committee casting aspersions on Journal journalists and journalism. Whether it be in the quest for prizes or in the disparagement of competitors, principle is but a bystander at The New York Times."

What’s behind this? Probably more than the increased competition between the two papers. The Times’ decision whether to run a story or not has very often been followed by the rest of the media, especially when it involves something detrimental to Democrats. Whether this comes from “like mindedness” or persuasion is subject to debate. My feelings are it comes from both and the latter is almost surely present much of the time.

The Times leadership is now being challenged by the Journal. They are publishing “no go” stories the Times and others are holding back on. The recent ClimateGate coverage is an example. The Journal did not follow the Times’ lead. It covered the story and covered it well.

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