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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Friday, April 08, 2005

Columbia J-school changes its tune on Times sweetheart deal

What a difference a day made!

Yesterday, you will recall,
The dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Nicholas Lemann, a longtime staff writer for New Yorker magazine,
was relaxed to the point of torpidity about the arrangement made between Columbia University mouthpieces and the New York Times whereby the Times got advance sight of the report on the bullying Arab profs in exchange for agreeing not to seek comments for its story.

At the time I wrote the piece, the folks at CJR Daily - usually so hot on such matters - had remained oddly silent about the affair.

Now, I see that, afterwards, a piece (by one Paul McCleary) was posted: yesterday at 2106 EDT - they certainly don't keep banker's hours! And odd reading it makes, too.

Lemann had said (according to the New York Sun - which has, it seems, been cheerleading the anti-Arab forces in the substantive dispute [1]) -
This would be in the realm of the venial, and I’m not sure whose sin it is: the Times, Columbia, or both.

McCleary is not on the same page:
If you're looking for an example of irresponsible journalism, this is about as cut and dried as it gets.

Columbia is the home of the Pulitzers, a top journalism school, and CJR itself. It should know better. Even its flacks should know better.

McCleary, so far as I'm aware, represents no one but himself. Whatever he says can't represent a gotcha against any part of the Columbia U organisation or hierarchy.

It's interesting, though, that he expresses so vigorously a view 180° different from that so publicly and so recently expounded by his boss.

  1. But, if the Sun had misquoted him, you'd have expected Lemann to have piped up.

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