The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 November 2005

Paper's Answer To Air America Scandal

NYT STORY 'PITCHED'?

Rhodes, Maddow, Air America Get Soft Times Treatment



Was Sunday's upbeat New York Times piece on Air America hosts Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes at least partly the result of a "pitch" by the liberal radio network's public relations department?

Could that make "They Look Nothing Like Rush Limbaugh" the result of a corporate spin campaign? Is that journalism?

After receiving a document-backed inside tip, the Radio Equalizer is investigating whether Air America's Jamie Horn convinced New York Times reporter Susan Brenna to write a self-serving piece on Air America's female hosts.

Should America's third-largest newspaper allow reporters to accept story ideas from PR flaks? Or is that better suited for small-town shopper publications?

While the New York Times Ethical Journalism Standards Guide doesn't appear to directly address the issue, Section 134 does discuss potential "favoritism" conflicts related to arts and entertainment coverage. And restrictions against helping others promote "artistic, literary or other creative endeavors" apply, according to Section 135.

From what the Radio Equalizer has so far learned, the only distinction between her pitch and the ultimate Times decision was in narrowing the focus to just two Air America hosts, Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes. Horn pushed for something slightly broader, what she called a "women of the liberal media piece".

At this point, we've not heard back from either Horn or New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame, but any responses will be added here and included in a follow-up piece. We've asked Calame for this concern to be presented to Brenna and hope to quickly get her side of the story.

One key matter to be resolved: did Horn overstate her role in advocating for the Times profile? That's why Brenna's account will be important, it could reduce or eliminate her potential for blame.

What we can so far say for certain is this:

On September 8, in the midst of a steady stream of negative press regarding Air America's Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal, where $875,000 in taxpayer grants to a Bronx-based community center were diverted to the liberal radio network, the company was in dire need of positive publicity.

Apparently, the damage-control task partly fell on Horn.

While the New York Sun had run a lengthy series of investigative pieces on Air America's troubles and the New York Post published an Op-Ed, "Money Pit" by Michelle Malkin and myself, the Times produced only one brief article.

That made the Times not only the focus of criticism by conservatives, but perhaps a potential safe haven for Air America and its supporters. It might seem logical to think the paper would continue to provide a friendly environment for the troubled firm.


Even Calame recognized the paper's slow response to the unfolding scandal. On his Public Editor's Web Journal on August 17, this admission was made:


The Times Showed Up Late to Air America Story

Readers of The Times were poorly served by the paper's slowness to cover official investigations into questionable financial transactions involving Air America, the liberal radio network. The Times's first article on the investigations finally appeared last Friday after weeks of articles by other newspapers in New York and elsewhere.

The Times's recent slowness stands in contrast to its flurry of articles about Air America in the spring of 2004, when the network was launched. "Liberal Voices (Some Sharp) Get New Home on Radio Dial," read the headline on The Times's article the morning of March 31 when the network went on the air.

The article noted that the network had a staff headlined by comedian Al Franken and hopes of establishing a counterpoint to conservative radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh.

Two months later, The Times reported that the network had come close to running out of money in April but had received an infusion of an undisclosed amount of cash from sources that weren't identified. The article noted that Evan M. Cohen, a primary early backer and the chairman of the network, had resigned.

Yet The Times was silent as other publications reported that city and state investigators were looking into whether the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx had made improper loans of as much as $875,000 to Air America.

Mr. Cohen, it turned out, had served simultaneously as a top executive at Air America and as the club's development director. And since the club operated largely with grants from government sources, any money passed to Air America may have come from the public till.

It has become clearer in the past week or so that Air America hasn't yet fully repaid the "loans" from the club, and its financial condition remains murky even in The Times's article Friday. So the future of the radio network seems to be a key question for The Times to answer.

"We were slow in the first place and need to do more," Rick Berke, an associate managing editor at The Times, told me Monday. While it's no excuse for such a belated response to the brewing scandal, it's true that pieces of the unfolding story fell in the domains of three different parts of the newsroom: the metropolitan desk, the business desk and the culture desk. There was, my inquiries suggest, a lack of coordination and awareness of what the paper's competitors across town were writing.

But it seems to me that this story is still unfolding, and The Times, for the sake of all its readers, needs to get to the bottom of any improper conduct and assess Air America's future.

There's another reason to get to the bottom of the scandal. It's the perception problem — a perception of liberal bias for which I haven't found any evidence after checking with editors at the paper.

Failing to cover the story until late last week has led numerous readers, especially those who seemed inspired by conservative bloggers, to write in saying that a liberal bias in the newsroom caused the paper to downplay the budding scandal.

One reader put it this way: "If a conservative radio network had been started with money improperly 'borrowed' from a charity like a boys and girls club, it would be front page news for weeks in your paper. Once more, your left-wing bias is showing."


If the Calame and Berke were aware of this problem on August 17, how could Horn have the ear of one of its reporters just days later? Did anyone at the Times really take Calame's piece seriously?

In Horn's widely-circulated internal memo, reprinted below, it's inferred that "pitching" had taken place for a period of time before September 8. Isn't the timing ironic?




From: Jaime Horn
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 4:25 PM
Subject: Good press is on the way...I hope!


Good news:

NYT wants to do a profile on both Rachel and Randi to run in the Sunday's Arts/Leisure section some time in October. I had been pitching a Women of the Liberal Media piece, I am not sure how they decided on Rachel and Randi but I want to go with it.

The reporter wants to come in an hour or so before each show, sit-in during the show, and then interview both Randi and Rachel after their shows are over.

I am setting the interviews up for late September, will keep you posted on other details to come.

Thanks

J



Leaving no doubt they considered it to be her coup, Air America executives responded to Horn's email with virtual high-fives. One went so far as to say, "Nicely Done, Jaime!"

At the Radio Equalizer, the November 13 result is a concept we've come to call "Frankenfluffy": a special brand of puff-piece journalism meant to prop up Air America Radio at every turn, no matter how bad the situation. The Times has consistently been at the forefront of this curious mainstream media movement.

While Brenna's piece does make some attempt at balance, with brief mentions of the Gloria Wise scandal, ratings difficulties and Randi's recent run-in with the Anti-Defamation League, there's no question they both look emerge from the story looking especially good.

Here's an edited excerpt:


They Look Nothing Like Rush Limbaugh
By SUSAN BRENNA

RACHEL MADDOW is the sunny, 32-year-old early bird of liberal talk radio, who spices her pre-dawn newscast on the Air America network with news of the weird. "I have to tell you about this story, or it will possess me for the rest of my natural-born life," Ms. Maddow mentioned one very early morning last month.

Ms. Maddow's Air America colleague, Randi Rhodes, is a more political, more acidly caustic voice who calls the Bush administration "the dark side." On Ms. Rhodes's four-hour afternoon show, she's the middle-aged woman (she's 46) who doesn't have the time or patience to be nice. "You're a pig!" she cries at whatever male conservative broadcaster has angered her that day.

They are two sides of the liberal talk-radio coin. In their own small way, over at the far end of the AM dial where Air America is broadcast in most of its 72 cities, Ms. Maddow and Ms. Rhodes are changing the world of talk radio.

If the Air America network hangs on long enough to reach the next presidential campaign, Ms. Maddow and Ms. Rhodes can claim some of the credit. The network's chief executive, Danny Goldberg, calls them "exactly the two people who have emerged in dramatic fashion" from the shadows of Air America's stars, Al Franken and the comic actress Janeane Garofalo, who helped the network make a high-profile debut 20 months ago.

Since then the network has added and lost stations, dipped in the ratings, then slightly risen again, while lagging far behind conservative talk radio in popularity. Its New York station, WLIB, was ranked 24th in the city in the most recent Arbitron ratings report, compared with WABC, the conservative talk home, at No. 8. Air America's reputation was also shaken by revelations that a founder, now departed, had borrowed $875,000 from a Bronx Boys and Girls Club to finance the network. In a statement, the network's current management said that it had repaid the loan into an escrow account, "where the money will remain until the city has completed its investigation of the club."

As for its current financial outlook, Mr. Goldberg said, "We pay the bills any way we can." Earlier this fall the network started an online fund-raising drive similar to a public radio campaign.

Larry Rosin, the president of Edison Media Research, a firm that tracks the radio industry, said that Air America had done "quite a credible job of creating a brand name very quickly." Because of that, he said, the network was well-positioned in a world where "the radio dial is not the totality of the picture any longer," but where programs are also available through syndication, through podcasts and on satellite radio.

The network is expected to announce imminently a move by Ms. Maddow into a more prominent morning drive-time role. She also has a gig debating the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson on his MSNBC show, "The Situation," and a contract to appear on other MSNBC programs. "Rachel is the universal donor of good chemistry," said Bill Wolff, the network's vice president of primetime programming. "You can put her on to talk to just about anybody about just about anything, and she comes across as just so cheerful and hopeful and likable," he said.

And Ms. Rhodes is collaborating with the concert promoter John Sher on a live comedy and music show that she expects to try out in New York then take on the road.

As for Ms. Maddow, her résumé before joining Air America four years ago included a job at a friend's coffee business. An honors graduate of Stanford University, Ms. Maddow identifies herself as the first openly lesbian activist to win a Rhodes Scholarship. She returned to Western Massachusetts to work as an activist on behalf of prisoners with AIDS "even though people think of that as the most marginal and obscure political issue ever - and it is. I didn't talk about it at cocktail parties."

She made cold calls and hounded the Air America founders for a job, then moved to New York to share a program with the comedy writer Lizz Winstead and the rapper Chuck D. When that show was replaced by one with Jerry Springer as its host, Ms. Maddow took the only slot available: 5 to 6 a.m. Now she comes into the network's Chelsea studios at midnight, drills through the Web for her picks of underreported stories. "My challenge is to give you the news I think should be on all national broadcasts, but isn't," she said. At around 8 a.m. she retires to a 24-hour bistro for a Bloody Mary, since "it's your day but it's my night."


For the entire Times story, click here.

What's next? It all depends on how, or if, the Radio Equalizer's requests are met with responses. Would you like to express your concerns or questions about this piece? Write to Mr. Calame at public@nytimes.com.

In addition, there is a great deal of excellent coverage on the fine points of Brenna's piece found at National Review Online's Media Blog and Newsbusters. Additional commentators on the subject will be noted in our follow-up.


3PM UPDATE: so far, no response from Calame or anyone at Air America Radio. Thanks to National Review and Newsbusters for their much-appreciated assistance, both have fresh Tuesday afternoon updates. Also check TimesWatch for additional comments.



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Rhodes photo: NY Times, "They Look Nothing Like Rush Limbaugh", credited to Derek Reed. Maddow: NY Times, Frankenfluff: Pete at IHillary, AAR Scandal: Darleen Click


36 Comments:

  • "Bu-bu-b-b-but what about Clinton?"

    "Why don't they talk about the issues?!
    We're fighting for our LIVES here!!

    "John Kerry bad, he stole my shoe!"

    Bits from the great Marc Maron of Air America Radio's Morning Sedition.

    And as Kent Jones, Rachel's sidekick, would say: VIGILANCE.

    By Blogger WHT, at 15 November, 2005 00:20  

  • Let me get this right: A PR rep pitched a story to a reporter, and the reporter liked the general concept, narrowed the focus, did some research and wrote the story? Heaven forbid!
    Hey Brian: Wake up! This happens ALL THE TIME. Sometimes a government spokesman is substituted for PR rep, but the purpose is the same. There is nothing unethical about it, so long as the story is accurate.

    By Blogger Justin, at 15 November, 2005 08:15  

  • Justin:

    You'd be screaming bloody murder if it was sharply critical of Air America.

    As long as it's a fluff piece, New York Times reporters are just doing their jobs, right?

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 15 November, 2005 08:41  

  • Nope. If the criticism was accurate, I'd have no problem with it.
    My issue with your post was your suggestion that the NYT reporter was irresponsible in writing a story whose genesis was a PR pitch. It is a silly charge.

    By Blogger Justin, at 15 November, 2005 09:02  

  • a few months ago, i pitched a story to a local newspaper about a rapist who was running a religious school in northwest florida, and guess what?! the editor liked the story and then published it. i can't believe that some people would actually write a story that someone suggested. oh, the humanity! for the love of God, find something interesting to write about. Air America is old news. its here, get over it. they aren't going away. almost every conservative in the country is hoping that they fail and disappear, not realizing that limbaugh's first 3 or 4 attemtps at radio failed, and he is still around today. if air america goes away, it will be back in another form. so just leave it alone.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 15 November, 2005 09:20  

  • i just read your Franken post on Malkin's blog, and since she is a coward and won't allow comments, i had to comment here. did you actually compare the air america "scandal" to the president lying about our reasons for war? did you actually put those 2 on the same level? you honestly think that getting over 2,000 american soldiers killed is equivalent to accepting a bad loan from a youth organization? this is basically what you implied in that post, and if you think this is true, then you need psychiatric help.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 15 November, 2005 09:25  

  • The big discrepancy is how the NYT has all but disregarded the Gloria Wise scandal. Of course, they mention it in this piece, but this is a backpage Arts Section article that most people don't get to. Guess where the story detailing Rush Limbaugh's prescription "scandal" ran? Section A, Page 1, Column 3. Wonder why Air America stealing from a Boys and Girls Club didn't make front page?

    Anyway, now that the storm has passed, they decide to come out in strong support of their ideological sisters. Unfortunately, the NYT has yet to do a "fluff" piece on any conservative women in radio (they list three in the Air America article), and given their track record, won't. In an Arts section, it's common for shameless promotion to occur. The problem is, there's no doubt it will occur for only liberal outlets.

    By Blogger gutshot, at 15 November, 2005 10:44  

  • Oh, and there is a certain level of humor in the commenter's nom denoting his IQ level, while proceeding to botch it's spelling.

    I apologize, just struck me as hilarious.

    Great blog Brian!

    By Blogger gutshot, at 15 November, 2005 12:25  

  • Noboby gives a damn abour Air America. No one listens, and the Times just looks goofy wtiting about it. got it. As if it doesn't look goofy enough already. No one cares. Shut up about it.
    And Hardcore, you think Bush lied. We don't. I'm not going to convince you with the facts, and you're not going to convince me with your BDS. End of conversation.

    By Blogger h, at 15 November, 2005 12:55  

  • Oh, and there is a certain level of humor in the commenter's nom denoting his IQ level, while proceeding to botch it's spelling.

    It's far more hilarious watching a very basic, very obvious piece of irony fly way over a retarded wingnut's head... and thereby prove hardcore's point of adopting the name in the first place.

    Maloney, I didn't think it possible, but your supporters just keep getting dumber.

    By Blogger HeadHunter, at 15 November, 2005 12:56  

  • I agree Phil M. I guess you removed your sarcasm-detectors before reading that comment.

    Does your shoe taste like the doggie-doo you stepped in this morning?

    By Blogger gutshot, at 15 November, 2005 13:21  

  • HA HA HA

    And the retarded wingnut desperately scrambles when shown how dumb he is...

    Sarcasm? Yeah, right.

    By Blogger HeadHunter, at 15 November, 2005 13:29  

  • I was surprised - I hadn't seen photos of Rhodes or Madden before, and they both looked much more like Rush Limbaugh than I would have guessed.

    By Blogger Jon, at 15 November, 2005 13:39  

  • As with every liberal, there is no substance to their arguments, simply name-calling. I guess you'd hate to post your opinions, because they hold about as much water as a colander.

    See, the clue that it's irony, Phil, is that there's nothing hilarious about the mispelling. It's stupid. It's a fifth-grade attempt at humor, similar to your rather lame attacks at me.

    Of course, Phil would take the time to post his opinions, but he's probably too busy trying to decide whether it's safe to cash his Air America paycheck today, or if he should wait a week or two to be sure there's money in the coffers. Here's a tip, Phil: call up the Grobny's and find out if they've received the Special Olympics check yet.

    By Blogger gutshot, at 15 November, 2005 13:39  

  • Let me see if I have this straight, gutshit.

    You opined that it was hilarious that Hardcore supposedly couldn't spell. (He can - you just weren't capable of grasping his joke).

    So I simply point out that it is more hilarious that you were too dumb to grasp Hardcore's joke (which you now claim to be a fifth-grade attempt at humor which now makes you look even dumber.)

    Then after a hilariously desperate attempt at revisionism, you now start crying about lack of substance and name-calling, when it was you, you moron, who originally decided to go after Harcore's supposed inability to spell.

    You're not only laugably stupid, you're a hypocrite too.

    By Blogger HeadHunter, at 15 November, 2005 14:22  

  • Thank you, Brian. Good job for not letting this just be swept under the floor. The bias is so blatant, yet it has to be spelled out again and again and again. Hell will freeze over before the NYT does a puff piece on Laura Ingraham, or even a BALANCED article on conservative women of the radio. Heaven forbid that any MSM outlet actually holds a liberal to the same critical standards as they do conservatives.

    By Blogger Christian, at 15 November, 2005 14:24  

  • to put the argument about the incorrectly spelled name to rest - YES it was intentional. i used to go by the handle "Liberal Outlaw", but felt that this was much more fun. i just wanted to see what you kids would do when you thought a conservative was busting your chops. ironically, brian would actually respond to my posts under this name, but not when i posted as Liberal Outlaw. if you don't believe me, check the archives.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 15 November, 2005 14:30  

  • Surely The New York Sun article has caught the eye of the district attorney, correct? Theere is an investigation on the part of law enforncement and not a newspaper, right??

    Nuh..Nuh.. No.

    nuuuuh-no.

    Buuh Bye.

    By Blogger X, at 15 November, 2005 14:44  

  • Phil, Phil, Phil. I can't help it if you misread something. It's alright, I'll be the bigger man and admit defeat. There you go, you win.

    Hardcore: I'd wager that Brian's responses are based more on his workload, and less on which moniker you happen to use. But, whatever makes you happy. I mean, happy liberals have won lots of elections the last 10 years.

    By Blogger gutshot, at 15 November, 2005 14:53  

  • That was a picture of Randi Rhodes??? Hell, I thought it was Penny Marshall...seriously.

    As they say, that gal sure has a face for radio.

    By Blogger Crapdog, at 15 November, 2005 15:38  

  • I can't help it if you misread something. It's alright, I'll be the bigger man and admit defeat. There you go, you win.

    HA HA HA
    You posts clearly demonstrate that you're incapable of grasping a simple joke so your only option is to pretend it didn't happen then run away like a little girl. And then you claim to be a "bigger man"?!! HA HA HA

    By Blogger HeadHunter, at 15 November, 2005 18:16  

  • Who gives a sh*t? The NYT is hemoraging readers and Air America doesn't have any listeners. The only way AAR stations gain ratings is when they remove AAR content. Aside from goofy tinfoil hat types no one cares about these two so-called *media* outlets.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 15 November, 2005 22:04  

  • "The NYT is hemoraging readers"

    This is factually untrue. The NYT was one of just a small handful of readers whose circulation INCREASED, according to the latest figures (LA Times, WaPo, WSJ, etc. all down). Moreover, it has signed up tens of thousands of people for its online paid columnist services.

    By Blogger Justin, at 15 November, 2005 22:31  

  • Brian:

    You certainly follow the script that was diagramed in the TIME magazine article you so proudly mention in your bio.I'll remind you what it said about you, In talking about Conspiracy USA, a town in Nevada, you get this mention:

    What would conspiracy town USA be without it's own conspiracy blowhard on AM radio? Fortunately, we don't have to guess. Brian Maloney fits the bill perfectly, he makes Rush Limbaugh seem perfectly reasonable. Maloney sees conspiracy in everything from the rising of the sun to even the notion that his voice can be mysteriously transmitted through... yes, you guessed it, radio.

    Holy cow- publicists pitch stories to media outlets!!!!!!!!

    What's the bigger story- that pr people pitch stories to media outlets or that a loser like yourself who had a six week job on the radio and pretends to know about the media, doesn't know that pr people pitch stories.

    Why don't you tell your readers the truth that you know:

    I pitched you the story about the pitchiing of the aar story... and you printed it you fat hypocrite.

    cue brian: this sam seder is an imposter, boo hoo, the real sam seder won't answer my emails!

    Can't wait till you break the story that the men who work at aar
    use urinals in the bathroom when they pee!

    By Blogger samseder, at 15 November, 2005 23:29  

  • That last has the ring of the real Sam Seder to me.

    Maloney - You might consider enrolling in (and graduating from) a class about how media (be it broadcast or print) works before commenting about it further.

    By Blogger Lyin' Baloney, at 16 November, 2005 00:08  

  • Oh, and there is a certain level of humor in the commenter's nom denoting his IQ level, while proceeding to botch it's spelling.

    Yes, and there's an even higher level of ridicule reserved for folks who write ungrammatical sentences while stooping to point out another's spelling error.

    By Blogger Mike Griswald, at 16 November, 2005 07:42  

  • When it comes to people like this--Savage is right when he says Liberalism is a Mental Disorder!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 16 November, 2005 07:46  

  • This is factually untrue. The NYT was one of just a small handful of readers whose circulation INCREASED, according to the latest figures (LA Times, WaPo, WSJ, etc. all down).

    Yea, those "latest figures" must be allowing the NYT management some sleep at night - considering the 3 year trend for the company is a disaster:

    http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/charts/chartdl.asp?Symbol=NYT&ShowChtBt=Refresh+Chart&DateRangeForm=1&CP=0&PT=6&C5=11&C6=2005&C7=11&C8=2005&C9=2&ComparisonsForm=1&CE=0&DisplayForm=1&D4=1&D5=0&D3=0&ViewType=0&PeriodType=6

    This trend has accelerated from approx. March of '04 on. Could this trend have anything to do w/ the NYT bias and the rise of the bloggosphere which gives people and alternative to the party line?

    Do ya think?

    Barkhorn.

    By Blogger Barkhorn1x, at 16 November, 2005 09:24  

  • Hmm...my link to the stock chart did not post correctly - the string was too long.

    If you would like to see what I referenced - go to this link and type in the NYT stock symbol, which is...well...NYT.

    http://moneycentral.msn.com/home.asp

    Barkhorn.

    By Blogger Barkhorn1x, at 16 November, 2005 09:28  

  • Getting back on topic here - Gutshot was right on target w/ his post:

    Unfortunately, the NYT has yet to do a "fluff" piece on any conservative women in radio (they list three in the Air America article), and given their track record, won't.

    That the NYT is incredibly biased, and that this bias has tainted what is supposed to be “hard news”, is self evident to anyone who possesses a rational, analytical brain.

    I will admit that Brian sometimes goes overboard, as the actual story did at least attempt balance. But the fact that once again a major MSM outlet gives what amounts to a PR coup for AAR. After all, a truly balanced piece would have to point out that almost no one hears Maddows in her current graveyard slot and Rhodes comes off pretty much as an insane barking moonbat (which she probably is).

    Barkhorn.

    By Blogger Barkhorn1x, at 16 November, 2005 09:47  

  • I worked for five years as a publicist pitching musical artists mainly, sometimes using a general trend where my client could be included as an example (like "Liberal Women in the Media.") The first one I did -to get my country artists some coverage-was about the babyboomer audience transitioning from rock to country. And, two of my clients who were getting more visibility with this demographic were featured. Wow - amazing.

    You do know THIS IS THE WAY IT WORKS, right? You know that most non-news (and sometimes even news) stories are pitched. A whole lot of people make a whole lot of money for doing this job. You have your dream coverage (covers, interview/review plus photo in major newspapers, Oprah, etc.) for which you're always trying. Sometimes it takes months for there to be a lull, sometimes you have to have some major timely hook, sometimes it just fits in with their editorial calendar - whatever.

    You do know THIS IS THE WAY IT WORKS, right? What you've written is embarrassing in its lack of knowledge and experience of the media.

    By Blogger jill bryant, at 16 November, 2005 11:38  

  • Brian,

    Here's a challenge: Write an entire blog post without using a Question Mark. This one had 12 questions marks alone.

    Can Brian write a post without a question mark? Can he? Can he? Will he?

    By Blogger Robert, at 16 November, 2005 12:17  

  • J.: I agree that Brian's piece does show some naivety towards the inner workings of the media.

    Still, if you have read Brian's blog for any length of time, he has railed on the MSM, specifically the New York Times, for turning a blind eye to the Gloria Wise B+GC/AAR scandal. It took the Times a considerable amount of time to even recognize there was a discrepancy, and even then it was buried like a teenager's porn magazine.

    Contrast that with the fact they present a glowing article about the ladies of AAR. Then, compare their virtual non-reporting of Wise/AAR to their front-page advertising of Rush Limbaugh's prescription drug problems.

    It's just business as usual for the Times.

    By Blogger gutshot, at 16 November, 2005 12:22  

  • What front page advertising for Limbaugh's pill problem?
    Do a NYT search and you'll find ONE article, from October 11, 2003.
    That's it.

    Just because your blog and radio heroes say something's true doesn't make it so.

    By Blogger circlethewagons, at 17 November, 2005 10:37  

  • J. Bryant wrote: "You do know THIS IS THE WAY IT WORKS, right? You know that most non-news (and sometimes even news) stories are pitched. A whole lot of people make a whole lot of money for doing this job. You have your dream coverage (covers, interview/review plus photo in major newspapers, Oprah, etc.) for which you're always trying. Sometimes it takes months for there to be a lull, sometimes you have to have some major timely hook, sometimes it just fits in with their editorial calendar - whatever.

    You do know THIS IS THE WAY IT WORKS, right? What you've written is embarrassing in its lack of knowledge and experience of the media."

    -- You're missing the point, J.Bryant. What's starkly obvious is that after doing the ol' Sgt. Schultz "I see NOTH-ingggg" when it came to Air America's Gloria Wise scandal, the Times is only too happy to publish yet another puff piece on the lib network ... at the lib network's suggestion.

    I've spent a quarter century working full-time in print journalism (and even freelancing for the Times), so I know a little something about this business, too. And sure, we all understand that publicists pitch stories and newspapers often go for them. But that's not the issue.

    The issue is that if the Times were seriously interested in rehabbing its reputation as a lefty newspaper, it would put more effort into achieving balance (or at least the appearance of it).

    Tell me this: Has the Times devoted as much ink to, say, Sean Hannity and the success of his show? How about Laura Ingraham? Both of them have many times more listeners than the ladies of Air America, yet somehow the Times saw fit to do one more happy, shiny piece on AAR ... while glossing over the harder news of the Gloria Wise ripoff.

    And THAT'S the point. No, it's not a scandal (the Times can hardly afford another one), but it's a strong indication of how objective the Times really is ... or isn't.

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 19 November, 2005 00:40  

  • Speaking of the Times, let's not get too impressed with the newspaper's circulation gains, whatever they may or may not be.

    Don't forget that this story ran less than two months ago -- and unless I missed something (feel free to show me the article if I did), I don't think the picture has changed all that much since this story came out:

    http://english.epochtimes.com/news/5-9-21/32537.html
    [i]NEW YORK - New York Times Co. on Tuesday said it would cut about 4 percent of its work force, or 500 jobs, and warned that weaker newspaper advertising and rising costs could reduce earnings to less than half of Wall Street forecasts this quarter.

    Shares in the New York Times fell almost 2 percent in after-hours trade as the company made its second job cut announcement since May, when it planned to eliminate 190 positions.

    The publisher of the New York Times, Boston Globe and International Herald Tribune warned that third-quarter earnings per share would be in a range of 11 cents to 14 cents compared with 33 cents a year earlier. The forecast includes expenses of 4 cents to 6 cents per share for its previous job cut program.

    Analysts on average had forecast earnings per share of 25 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

    The company will cut about 500 jobs over six to nine months beginning in October, including 250 positions at the New York Times Media Group and about 160 at its New England Media Group. The reductions include about 80 newsroom positions in total -- 45 at the Times and 35 at the Globe.[/i]

    Does this sound like "Happy Days Are Here Again" to you?

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 19 November, 2005 00:45  

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