The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Times has spoken on Landesman sex slaves article
Life gets tedious when the Lords of the Big Media fail to observe what tweely used to be called netiquette to the slightest degree.
I relayed the information yesterday that ombud Daniel Okrent was still on the case .
What Okrent (or, rather, the Times editors) failed to do was mention (still less, link to) a statement by the Times on the Landesman article at the bottom of the Corrections Page  of the self-same edition of the paper!
The statement runs as follows :
I'm indebted for the tip to Daniel Radosh's blog, a piece which picks holes in the Corrections statement - and suggests, which must be right, that this is the Times' idea of pre-empting Okrent's view of the matter.
It seems to me that NYTC management decided some time ago to raise the stakes, to admit minor errors, but stand by the substance. Thereby ensuring that Okrent would look rather petty and irrelevant if he sought to put a shot across the bows by doing more nit-picking: and challenging him either to make a frontal assault on the quality of Landesman's journalism (and NYT Magazine Editor Gerry Marzorati's editing) by inference from the mass of questionable elements in the story; or to roll over and concur with the management on the story.
It looks like Okrent's big test. If he passes on the Landesman piece, in the hope of finding a more clear-cut example of journalistic or editorial deficiency later on, he risks compromising his authority. Especially if, without his help, the piece continues slowly to unravel as it has apparently been doing.
(What is the view in the newsroom of Landesman and Marzorati, generally, and in relation to the sex slaves piece? Will they mount the barricades in their defence, if Okrent goes for broke?)
It will also be crucial that, rather than giving some blanket opinion, he addresses individually the detailed questions that have been raised - it is, after all, those questions of detail that raised doubts about the piece in the first place. Especially now he has his kinda-sorta blog - which announces that it is for any
issue that deserves to be addressed in public but isn't appropriate for, or won't fit into, his biweekly column in the Week in Review.
Space, clearly, is no object.
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