The problem with all the mistakes in Jill Abramson's book on journalism is you'll never know who wrote them


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/11/the-problem-with-all-the-mista.html


#2

I was honestly surprised this book didn’t get withdrawn and pulped, with the publisher suing to get its advance back from the author. I’m naive, which is probably considered a greater sin than all the crap Abramson did.

I’d like to hope the reviews of the book will be extremely bad, but considering all the elite media ubermensch I’ve seen defending her, I suspect the reviews will be mostly glowing. :confused:


#3

Is it on the NYT best sellers list?


#4

Just think for a second. If she’s doing this shit to her own fucking book, then she did it in her work as executive editor of the NYT. Journalistic standards trickle down from the leadership, so this is the fucking gutter she was encouraging all employees of the NYT to emulate. OMFG.


#5

The sad joke here is that her successor, Dean Baquet, is actually worse.


#6

This practice of farming out book-writing to “researchers” reminds me of nothing so much as any number of different businesses hiring subcontractors to avoid liability.


#7

I wanna know more about Rob’s " s p e c i a l c o n t e n t ".


#8

Yes. A book might get withdrawn and pulped if someone with deep enough pockets threatens a lawsuit. Particularly if that book is not itself destined to be a big money-maker. Are S&S lawyers right now having some extremely uncomfortable conversations with Abramson’s agent? Oh, yes.


#9

“Well, when the New York Times does it, that means that it is not illegal.”


#10

Same, i really need to know.


#11

I too would like to know more about the “s p e c i a l c o n t e n t”. Any examples still extant out there?


#12

“You can’t very well blame Abramson for someone else’s mistake, can you?”

Yes, you bloody well can. Her name is on the book. That means, in no uncertain terms, that she has accepted full and total responsibility for each and every error and mistake. This is non-revocable.


#13

I’m guessing parties of lemons and GIFs of things spinning right round round round were involved? Ah, internet in the early 00’s. (shudder)


#14

If the “special content…will otherwise go undescribed here”, I presume that it was pr0n.


#15

Yeah, that’s the NYT in a nutshell: Abramson > Baquet > Keller. Sigh.

Abramson’s errors/copying/misattributing isn’t all that bad. What I’ve seen was fixable given a competent editorial process by the publisher. There’s some interesting content and (sadly) she’s not the world’s worst journalist but, whew, the judgement call (or maybe they really just don’t know better, it’s sadly hard to say) to not properly fact check and edit her book was breathtakingly dumb. Being defensive instead of immediately admitting there are problems is maybe dumber.

I have little sympathy for Abramson and/or the NYT. They had their chances to make things right, to do solid journalism, to think clearly about their (and our) futures, and to insist on the truth instead of investing in corrupt politics and journalism and . . . every fucking time, the NYT and Abramson (and Banquet and Keller) have chosen the wrong path, cut the wrong corner, gotten into bed with power, and looked the other way when the obvious was right in front of them.

Charles Pierce, one of our better journalists, has a kind of slogan that works for me: “If this blog sees a man walking down the street with a duck on his head, it will report that it saw a man walking down the street with a duck on his head.” There are still many fine reporters at the NYT but I can’t think of one recent senior editor capable of accurately reporting on “a man walking down the street with a duck on his head.”


#16

But it’s much more interesting to report what Kim and Kanye said about it on Twitter


#17

Let this be a lesson to those of you think the Times is something of an exceptional media outlet.
Take away those pieces [published to attract Pulitzers and other prizes and it’s pretty much crap as a rule.


#18

The use of CPM here isn’t that crazy to me. Mercenary as hell, sure…

If you take someone’s salary, divide it by pageviews, then by 1000, you get the cost per mille of that staffer to the business–which can be compared to your advertising revenue CPMs.

This book sounds like Swiss cheese, don’t get me wrong…


#19

Interesting (and refreshing) to see at least some kind of observation of the Times’s ill ‘judgement.’

Jill Abramson was the Exec Editor of the NY Times when we raised concerns about a different plagiarism issue* we had with them long ago. Then they lost two Public Editors, Margaret Sullivan and Elizabeth Spayd, over our persistent inquiries.

( *Google: NY TIMES STAFFER DEATH THREATENS AUTHOR FOR UNVEILING ALLEGED JOURNALISTIC IMPROPRIETIES… )

Just saying.


#20

It’s true that Denton my have appropriated the term thus, but I think it’s unlikely as it would be confusing. Like a car manufacturer making a new thing called Metered Priority Grouping to measure battery charge and putting “MPG” on the dashboard.

The problem is simply that as written, it’s clear that “Abramson” doesn’t know about the original meaning of a term critical to her business operations.