Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Greenhouse gas

Posted on | October 17, 2006 | No Comments

A lot of hyperbloggeratin’ about New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse’s gassing at a Harvard event about the government’s heavy-handed approach toward changes in law and policy–something not too many people would disagree with. The disagreeable part, at least in the eyes of The Times is that she spoke her mind.
If she broke the paper’s policy that’s one thing. But the policy itself is a bit absurd. The “paper of record” says its reporters “should avoid expressing views that go beyond what they would be allowed to say in the paper.” Well, The Times is sort of two-faced about this: on the one hand reporters are supposed to be objective, blahblahblah. But let’s be honest, objectivity is an allusion. And The Times prides itself on being the most liberal national paper in the country. (Aside: Gail Collins is leaving as editorial page editor and being replaced with Andrew Rosenthal, who rushed to reassure petrified readers that the page’s liberal bent will not diminish. I know I’m sleeping better).
I really don’t think readers are staying up at night worrying that Linda Greenhouse is pontificating in front of a college crowd. The people who are staying up late at night at conservative bloggers, who try to portray The Times as the Great Satan in times like these.
Public Editor Byron Calame is trying to get control of the situation, but the cat’s out of the bag. To echo one reader’s input: The Times is defensive. It’s still licking its wounds from various personnel screwups over the past several years. Get past it.
Objective automotons never existed in this business. People increasingly value stories with insight, access, context and a little attitude. If they want to balance that story with something a little different, it’s only a Google search away.

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