Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 11:28 AM

They forgot the readers

Peter Baker, a reporter at the NYT posted a dismissive tweet about the mess with the Hillary Clinton emails. Technology companies do this too. It's easier to narrow your world to "players" and forget who's paying your salary. And that you're talking over their heads, and missing that the real damage isn't with the Clinton organization, but with your readers.

Let's review where we're at...

  1. Their source was anonymous.

  2. Therefore when we read the article we have no way of judging the trustworthyness of the source, we can only depend on the trust we have with the person who chose the source, the reporter.

  3. We only trust the reporter because the New York Times chose them to be the reporter of an important story.

  4. We know the Times has in the past chosen reporters who made up their own anonymous quotes, or used anonymous quotes from the people they were covering. Each of those times the apology was insufficient to erase the damage done to our trust of them.

  5. You can blame Hillary Clinton all you want, that just makes you look like you're covering something up. We have to suspect you as much as you're supposed to question the integrity of your anonymous sources, assuming the source actually exists.

  6. Every time the Times passes the buck when they are used by an anonymous source, saying they're only as good as their sources, in the future we have to assume every anonymous source is either Dick Cheney or a figment of the reporter's imagination.

  7. So it appears that the Times is bullshit top to bottom, and when pushed on that question, they don't deny it. They say everything but Mea culpa.

  8. Too bad, they used to have some self-respect, or so it seemed.

PS: Thanks to Jay Rosen for the pointer.

PPS: The Times really needs an editor to rep the interests of readers. They don't have one. Margaret Sullivan is repping the NYT internal line. Misses the point. It's not the mistake that the Times made, they will make mistakes. It's the weasel-like way they dealt with it. The Times readers are uniquely intelligent people, and aren't so easily fooled or dismissed. The issue, is with readers, not the Clintons.

Last built: Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 1:31 PM

By Dave Winer, Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 11:28 AM. This aggression will not stand.