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New York Times: The Paper Of Record & Ripoff

New York Times: The Paper Of Record & Ripoff


By Suzan Mazur

LOS ANGELES COUNTY EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION REPORT OF MEDIA CONTACT

Prepared By: Marsha Richter
Date Of Contact: 10-08-04
Reporter's Name: Patrick Cliff
Reporter's Phone Number: 7**-8** -8998
Reporter's Employer: New York Times
Where Will The Story Be Aired?: New York Times Magazine
When Will The Story Appear?: Unknown
Is The Story For An Opinion Piece Or A News Story?: Unknown
What Prompted The Reporter's Interest?: Unknown
What Topics Were Covered By The Reporter?: He wanted to know the date when David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group addressed the Board of Investments. I told him that meeting minutes indicated Mr. Rubenstein made a presentation to the Board on 4/23/03.

Distribution: Members of the Board of Retirement
Members of the Board of Investments
Marsha D. Richter, C.E.O.
Gregg Rademacher, A.E.O.
Robert R. Hill, A.E.O.
David L. Muir, Chief Counsel
Kenneth Shaffer, Chief Investment Officer

Funny, New York Times researcher Patrick Cliff never contacted me about the tape I unearthed (no transcript provided) and the story I broke in Progressive Review, July 1, 2003 (Click here: HOW BUSH GOT BOUNCED FROM CARLYLE BOARD - Suzan Mazur, Progressive Review) , which the Times magazine ran up front and unattributed in Ron Suskind's October 17, 2004 election cover story "Without a Doubt" as the most memorable anecdote in the piece.

Funny too, because my report of Carlyle Group MD David Rubenstein's comments to LACERA about George W. Bush's feckless years on the board of Carlyle's Caterair had become famous in the last year -- along with David Rubenstein.

This fresh case of banditry by the Times comes despite the National Writers Union's successful legal challenges in recent years on behalf of freelance writers regarding thievery by the media industry, in Tasini v. The New York Times and National Geographic v. Greenberg, where the media industry took the position that the law "allows them to steal writers' work".

The U.S. Copyright Office "eviscerated that claim" as NWU president emeritus Jonathan Tasini described the victory in the 2001 case involving National Geographic: "Once again the legal system has come down in favor of the individual creator's rights in the digital age."

The Times lifting my report also comes despite my call to Patrick Cliff, October 13, the night of the last presidential debate, having heard through the grapevine that he was sniffing around. Cliff pressed me for information about how I found out he was checking the story -- which I found appalling. I refused to tell him and instead ran through the story's history.

I told him that Joe Conason wrote a July 2 column for Salon about my report and linked the Review story. I said Conason also mentioned and linked Democracy Now! I described that I'd hand-carried the Rubenstein tape to the firehouse where DN! broadcasts, because the show was interested in airing it the following day -- which they did, crediting me with both securing the tape and with breaking the story. (Click here: Democracy Now! | Democracy Now! Exclusive: Why The Carlyle Group Pushed George W. Bush Off Its Board)

I emphasized that the story was out for the past month with credit to me in Craig Unger's paperback, House of Bush House of Saud. That the Guardian picked it up with attribution in July 2003 (Click here Diary Matthew Norman Guardian - Thursday July 3, 2003). That UPI's Chief White House Correspondent covered it in his column mentioning me. (Click here: White House Watch: With friends like these) That there were countless other citations -- most stories appearing over a year before the New York Times went to press (partial list):

beltway bandit - HILARIOUS TAKE ON W
Informationclearinghouse - Look At Why The Carlyle Group Wanted to Drop George W. Bush From Its Board A Decade Ago
dailykos - How Bush Got Bounced From the Carlyle Board
Brad DeLong - George W. Bush: Bred Leader
Fxxxed Company - David Rubenstein, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, TRASHES BUSH!!!!!
mambogani - HOW BUSH GOT BOUNCED FROM CARLYLE BOARD

I told Cliff that Amy Goodman had posted her C-Span Booknotes interview on the Internet with a note about my first exposing Rubenstein's comments with a link to the Review story (she said she'd forgotten whether she was supposed to protect me as a source at the time of broadcast and failed to mention me in her conversation with Brian Lamb?). And I said that I'd been written into the text of Amy and David Goodman's book. (Click here: The Exception to the Rulers - The Book.)

I informed Cliff that Michael Moore's archives producer, Carl Deal, had contacted me about getting the tape for Farenheit 9-11, referred by Iron Triangle author Dan Briody. Deal emailed saying he'd read the Progressive Review story and heard the Goodman broadcast of the tape with Dan Briody's call-in.

Finally, I asked Cliff to advise the appropriate people at the Times magazine making it clear that I wanted credit in the piece for my work. He assured me he would contact them the next morning. I was shocked when Suskind's piece appeared without attribution to me.

But Cliff was not the only person from the Times sniffing around before publication. David Cay Johnston contacted Sam Smith at Progressive Review about two weeks prior to publication of the Times story asking for my telephone number. I've only written one story for Progressive Review.

I never received a call from Johnston, but he did email me twice with his telephone number. When I returned his call after speaking with Patrick Cliff, Johnston seemed to momentarily forget why he'd first contacted me.

I refreshed his memory regarding his call to Progressive Review and again ran through the story's history. Johnston fumbled for words saying that if he ran something, he would certainly credit me -- but the urgency was gone.

He said his interest was Bush and money. I told him there was no money involved regarding the Review story. "I feel sorrry for you," he said. And I knew then the Times story was a done deal. On Sunday over a million hard copies of Suskind's piece went worldwide without attribution to me. Suskind was all over the talk shows the next day and Al Gore, in a speech broadcast by C-Span, was directing people to the Suskind article.

I immediately called Times magazine editor-in-chief Gerald Marzorati, and then Ron Suskind. Suskind admitted his error and apologized. Marzorati emailed apologizing for the Times' "sloppy journalistic manners," but cited "fair use" and no error.

No error? Was it deliberate? And why then has Marzaroti now linked Ron Suskind's online story to my Review story -- to be nice?

Marzaroti also wrote to me saying Times researchers went over the material "word for word with Carlyle," which appears disingenuous since Carlyle communications director Chris Ullman called me over a year ago about and discovered during the course of our conversation that I first exposed Rubenstein's comments. I still have the voice mail in my archives that Ullman left.

I've asked Marzaroti to run the original Review piece as a stand-alone in hard copy either in the Times daily paper or the magazine -- which he refuses to do. I've also reported this to the paper's ombudsman Daniel Okrent. And the situation is being reviewed now by the National Writers Union.

Human rights champion and Weapons of Mass Deception filmmaker, Danny Schechter was first to publicly cry foul about the incident in his October 20 Dissector blog for MediaChannel.org. Schechter gracefully sums up the authentic vs. archaic journalism struggle for turf in these laissez faire times.

"Had a call yesterday from journalist Suzan Mazur who unearthed a tape by an executive of the Carlyle Group. Her story was cited last Sunday in the NY Times Magazine by Ron Suskind but with nary a mention of Suzan's work, another way in which freelancers are frequently ripped off. She protested to the Times. Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati responds.

'I have spoken with the author and the fact-checking department. I believe it would have been best, as a professional courtesy, to have mentioned in the body of Ron Suskin's piece that you first obtained the transcript. But it is a stretch to call this an "error," . . . Would [sic] I have done is asked our website to create a link to your story online from Suskind's story, which is receiving heavy e-mail traffic. I am sorry for any anguish this has caused you and I apologize for our sloppy journalistic manners.'"

*************

[Suzan Mazur's reports have appeared in the Financial Times, Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, and on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and Fox television shows. sznmzr@aol.com]

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