Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Who goosed the moose?
(Via Free Republic) Carl Swanson of New York magazine has the inside skinny in The Battle for the Newsroom: How the Jayson Blair scandal touched off a struggle for the soul of the Gray Lady. There's lots of good stuff that I won't even try to summarize, but here are two vignettes. First Dr. Raoul (well known FReeper) scores:
To many of the assembled, this triumvirate had come close to destroying the credibility of the newspaper—“this precious thing we hold in common,” as one reporter has described it. And the hastily called “town hall” meeting, on May 14, hadn’t helped, with its gauntlet of news cameras, reporters, and a hectoring man in a Saddam Hussein mask and well-worn loafers carrying a sign announcing FORMER NYT REPORTER, WILL LIE FOR FOOD.

“It was the most depressing and humiliating thing,” said one Metro reporter.

“It’s not the kind of thing you’d think you’d go through because of the Times.”
And then there's the dippy moose:
Landman’s name was invoked many times in the meeting last week. In the dull, repetitive, self-flagellating, and in some cases tearful questioning that went on at the Loews theater last week, when someone suggested the committee investigating the Blair after-effects be named the Landman committee, the room exploded in applause.

Raines and Boyd, by contrast, were under continuous fire. Investigations editor Joe Sexton took them to task for not having demanded Blair’s sources. “It’s right fucking there,” he said.

Raines called the inquiry “demagogic.”

But it was Sulzberger, the real power in the kingdom, who made the strangest showing. “The publisher today showed up with a stuffed moose—the moose is a symbol on the fourteenth floor of speaking openly,” said one reporter.

Sulzberger removed the stuffed moose from a plastic bag and handed it to Raines. Raines looked nonplussed for an instant, then set it down next to his chair.

"You’re sitting in the room with giants in the business,” said the reporter. "It was mortifying.”
I guess Sulzberger has turned off the ringer on his clue phone.