December 05, 2002


WHEN IT RAINES, IT POURS: Prior to this week, the only place one could hear about the activist left-wing bias and dictatorial management style of New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines were on Fox News Channel and in the blogosphere (most notably on the site of disgruntled former Times employee Andrew Sullivan). I tend to skeptical of any story that only the liberal media or only the conservative media is covering, so I didn't quite know what to make of the Raines attacks. But then this week, Raines has overstretched his bounds so outrageously that the paper's staff seems poised for a mutiny- and it's all over the mainstream press.
First there was the embarrassing David E. Kelley debacle, in which the paper mistakenly referred to "The Practice"'s creator as Catholic, and took nearly a month to correct the mistake. Then this week, Raines spiked a pair of sports columns, by Dave Anderson and Harvey Araton, that disagreed with the paper's stance that Tiger Woods should skip the Masters this year in protest of Augusta National's male-only membership policy. The lack of capacity for dissent in the "paper of record" is surely an unwelcome development, especially considering that Anderson is the nation's only living Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist.
The spike story was broken by the New York Daily News, and has been picked up all over the place; it was even mentioned by rock-ribbed sportswriters Kornheiser and Wilbon tonight on "Pardon the Interruption" (Wilbon went as far as to "thank God we write for the Washington Post and not the Times"). Maybe now that the cat's out of the bag, Raines will learn to see the error of his ways- but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 5, 2002 09:26 PM
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