August 12, 2005

IS THE NYT BOTCHING ITS COVERAGE of Air America’s problems? Brian Maloney marshalls the evidence. Clearly, the Times waited too long to report on the allegations of improper financial dealings, but did they reword what Al Franken said on the air? Maloney thinks so. He does have two different quotes. But Franken has a long talk show, and he does ramble on and repeat himself. Maybe he said both things.

From the NYT article:

[W]ord of the investigations ignited a firestorm of criticism on the Internet, especially among conservative-leaning blogs that have essentially accused the network of robbing from the poor to pay its bills.

To my ear, that sounds as though the Times did not appreciate bloggers pressuring it to report a story.

Amusingly, the NYT knocks the conservative bloggers for the robbery metaphor, but Franken himself used that metaphor on the air. He said, “I think he was robbing Peter to pay Paul.” The Times quotes Franken as saying “I think he was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.” Did they change the quote to jibe with their attitude toward the bloggers? Even if Franken said both things, the choice of the more mealy-mouthed of two available quotes would still seem to be based on a desire to make the bloggers look rabid.

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