The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Suckered to no purpose by the NYROB

An entirely profitless journalistic crime committed by the New York Review of Books with their article by Michael Massing (next door piece).

A basic rule of the shyster is disclose what won't hurt you. The more carloads the better, in fact. With family relationships, sexual relationships (if widely known), employment, business contracts, political affiliations, the journo needs to put himself in the shoes of a reasonable potential reader: if the reader would feel gypped, having read the piece, if he found out the piece of information elsewhere, that information should be disclosed.

Thus with the Massing piece: according to Women's Wear Daily (February 10) the NYT's Judith Miller is none too pleased at her treatment in the article.

WWD points out that the NYROB is not the first publication to have a go at Miller over Iraqi WMD, and her relationship with the controversial Ahmed Chalabi. However,
...there’s one thing that differentiates the NYROB from the others: Miller is married to Jason Epstein, a founder of the NYROB who still writes for it occasionally. And the Review’s co-editor happens to be Barbara Epstein, his ex-wife.

It doesn't take more than two readings of the sentence to work out that, for there to be something fishy, the relationships go the wrong way!

If Miller was getting a break based on family loyalty, hubby Epstein would have got the Massing piece spiked. And, if private matters governed the publication, then it would be vicarious ex-wife bitching on the part of the Ed.

So, assuming that the commissioning of the Massing piece was not on the level (a different question from whether the piece itself holds water, of course), then family ties have screwed Miller, not given her a break.

Yet the non-disclosure still rankles.

Miller says she was misquoted, by the way...

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