While any story like this says to readers, "trust us, we're the New York Times," this one puts the Times reputation more completely on the line because there is virtually nothing else for us to trust than the rectitude of the people running the paper.Jeff Jarvis:
They can’t be that clueless, can they? They can’t be that bad at understanding news and politics, public opinion and media, surely. So are they merely trying to spin us? Are they embarrassed at what they did?UPDATE: Although I think the NYT editors and journalists involved in this story demonstrated poor news judgment and have offered credibility-damaging defenses, it's important to note how different the NYT is from 5 years ago and recognize the credibility-enhancing processes they have put in place.
The real elephant in the room: This was bad journalism.
I think some the impact of the Siegal Reports can be clearly seen here.
- When, in the history of the NYT, has it been held publicly accountable by thousands of readers using its own publishing tool (web site)?
- When, in the history of the NYT, has its editors and journalists engaged their readers in near-real-time two-way conversation?
- When, in the history of the NYT, could any interested reader engage its editors and journalists authoritatively using the NYT's own publicly available Reader's Guide, Confidential News Sources Policy, internal memos (Assuring Our Credibility) and accounts of their internal debates (More Flexibility and Reality in Explaining Anonymity)?
- When, in the history of the NYT, was there a NYT insider who would publicly tell its readers that the Executive Editor got it wrong?