“Is New York Times boss piloting a ‘ghost ship?'” The above video asks. (Short answer: yes.)
New York Times publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr has suddenly become the moose in the room that everybody now wants to talk about, including his disgruntled staffers…and Taiwanese animators who have produced an hilarious video about his bizarre management style (below the fold). The Taiwanese parody is based on a recent email sent by Times science and health reporter Don McNeil to about 150 fellow staffers.
Reading McNeil’s explosive email, one gets the impression that Sulzberger’s primary qualification to helm the Times was to live through birth:
The Times is in labor turmoil. Journalists are openly angry. Even the sacred Page One meeting has had a protest.
The company has no C.E.O.
Arthur has cancelled his annual State of the Times address.
He didn’t even speak at Anthony Shadid’s memorial. Jill “greeted us in his name” as he sat there.
The antlers that the animated version of Sulzberger wears throughout the above video are a reference to Pinch’s infamous stuffed moose from the Jayson Blair-era:
The moose is loose On the empty stage, Sulzberger, Raines and Boyd sat side by side. They got no applause and no catcalls, though some audience comments were cheered. In a surreal moment that reminded one staffer of Shari Lewis’ old TV show, Sulzberger produced a stuffed toy moose that he sometimes trots out as a symbol of open communication. Its use struck some in the audience as a tone-deaf and patronizing gesture. Sulzberger handed the moose to Raines, who laid it aside.
As James Lileks wrote at the time, “grown-ups do not use metaphorical mooses to break the ice:”
Let’s imagine how that would have worked in WW2:
Patton: Dammit, Ike, I –
Eisenhower: uh uh uh, George. I don’t see Mr. Moose. I hear moosey feelings, but the table looks pretty mooseless to me.
Patton: (fingers pearl handle of his revolver) (drops a dirty, wet rag on the table) That’s my moose. It fell under the tank treads. Sir, about Normandy –
Eisenhower: What did you call you moose? You’re supposed to give it a name!
Patton: As soon I saw it was under the treads, I named it Monty.
Lileks wrote almost a decade ago that “adults no longer run the Times;” today, they’re also pretty scarce at the other end of the Northeast Corridor. QED:
“The president has a very difficult time with the business community. Most people in business and most people who are successful are Republican that’s just a fact of life.”
— Bill Daley, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff.
But then, as Ann Althouse asks, while Obama is “slow-jamming the news” with a late-night television host and hitting the fund-raising circuit 24/7, who is running the show at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?