Ed Driscoll

The Times Died For Somebody's Sins...But Not Mine

Pinch Sulzberger crucifies himself–for the sins of the world, but not those of his own paper.

Pinch went to work on his dad’s paper the same time former editor Howell Raines did, in 1978. Over at Slate, Jack Shafer reviews Howlin’ Howell’s new memoir:

How wretched a newspaper was the New York Times when Howell Raines assumed the executive editor job in September 2001?

In his new memoir, The One That Got Away, which combines fish stories with newspaper recollection, he claims that the Times had been stinking up the joint since March 13, 1978. That’s the first full day he spent in the Times newsroom, when he noticed its “habit of cruising through critical intersections on automatic pilot.”

The Times was a “newspaper that liked to wear its dullness like a merit badge” doing “much of its journalism by the numbers.” On some stories it revealed itself to be a “churning urn of underachievement.” It possessed a “collective, institutional willingness to stand around and get scooped.” It was “dull but worthy … slow, tedious and self-important.” Its “stolid pace” frustrated him; it was “selling an ossified product over and over again to the same people.”

Read the whole thing as they like to say in the successor media.