Arianna Nails Keller and the Times

New York Times Editor Bill Kellor spoke in Phoenix last week at the annual Association of National Advertisers conference. Among his comments:

"Most of what you know, you know because of the mainstream media," Keller said. "Bloggers recycle and chew on the news. That's not bad. But it's not enough."

The Times, Kellor asserted, is different:

The Times' assets: "A worldwide network of trained, skilled [observers] to witness events" and write about them, and "a rigorous set of standards. A journalism of verification," rather than of "assertion," and maintaining an "agnosticism" as to where any story may lead.

Arianna calls Keller "Clueless in Phoenix."

No word on how many in his audience choaked on their rubber chicken. I'm sure his therapist would have something to say about the timing, because Keller made this assertion just as the blogosphere was at its best -- diving into and carving up the latest developments in the rapidly unfolding Plamegate saga: new Miller notes, an old Rove email, Fitzgerald's "welcoming" letter to Libby and his call to Joe Wilson, Rove's follow up to his follow up to his follow up to his grand jury testimony, Miller's upcoming Tuesday sit down with Fitzgerald....These bloggers are not chewing on the news. They are spitting it out.

Next, Arianna takes apart Keller's assessment of the Times' assets, one by one. Especially, the paper's lack of candor and Judith Miller's hardly stellar reporting on WMDs in Iraq. She's scathing, go read her.

The question we're left with is whether the New York Times's credibility has been damaged permanently by Miller's reporting and the paper's self-serving coverage of of Miller and PlameGate.

NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen wrote last week that he is finding the Washington Post to be more credible than the New York Times these days.

Just one man's opinion, but now is a good time to say it: The New York Times is not any longer--in my mind--the greatest newspaper in the land. Nor is it the base line for the public narrative that it once was. Some time in the last year or so I moved the Washington Post into that position...

I think when Fitzgerald's investigation is over, and it becomes clear that Judith Miller didn't go to jail because she is Saint Judy, protecting the First Amendment rights of journalists everywhere, but to protect her own career and sources, so no one would learn just how embedded she is with the Bush Admininstration, the Times will face a choice. It can continue to stand by Judy and settle for being Avis instead of Hertz. Or it can acknowledge the errors of its ways, promise to reform and try to work its way back to being number one.

Americans are a forgiving people. But we don't like being conned.

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    Re: Arianna Nails Keller and the Times (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:52 PM EST
    gee, if judy miller and "plamegate" were the only areas that the times has been deficient in, i could almost accept that. it isn't, by a long shot. with rare exception, the times has become a flackfest for the bush administration. there's a reason they hide maureen dowd behind closed doors, and it isn't because of her skilled, incisive analysis. why klugman continues to allow himself to be embarrased, by being in the same paper as she, is a source of mystery. i assume the pay is very, very good. sadly, ms. dowd is representative of the times as a whole, a good paper gone horribly, horribly bad. the decent thing would be to say kaddish over it, and give it a good judeao/christian burial.

    Re: Arianna Nails Keller and the Times (none / 0) (#2)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:52 PM EST
    The Times's best interests and Judith Miller's interest clearly diverge now. How the Times will finally recognize this reality is not so clear. Who has been in bed, how and why are not the story the Times is eager to tell. Covering the collective a$$ continues to trump the story untold about them all. Oy.