May 29, 2003
ANOTHER UNCREDITED STRINGER FOR THE TIMES comes out of the closet. He begged for a byline, and was denied:
As more and more of my stuff got into the paper, I began beseeching my editors to give me a byline or a tag.
It was not just a matter of ego, though I must admit it is an honor seeing my name in the Times.
The real reason I was so vociferous is that the people who pick up a newspaper have the right to know who provides the information therein.
It is a matter of trust, to the readers and to the sources.
After a while, and especially with the Iverson mess -- involving a couple of B-movie bunglers trying to pin a bum gun rap on The Answer -- sources began to joke about my veracity when they didn't see my name in the paper. People who are quoted like to know who did the quoting, because, should anything be wrong, they want to know whom to yell at. (The good news was that I got everything right and nobody, to my knowledge, complained. The bad news is that I didn't invent any of my interviews, which, at the going rate, would have guaranteed me a very large jackpot.) . . .
My pleadings, via telephone and e-mail, were answered with a standard this-is-the-policy line, lest something be of such import and substance that it would be impossible to ignore.
So explain to me, again -- well, actually just for the first time -- what exactly it was that Rick Bragg did that was so bad?
UPDATE: Ana Marie Cox, on the other hand, writes that Bragg should have been fired for superciliousness and condescension.
Boy, a lot of jobs would open up if that were the standard. . . . And scroll down to read Al Giordano's comment, which is brilliant.