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Grapevine Whine - One Bullet, Multiple Targets & A Quiz

Reported by Nancy - December 13, 2005 -

Brit Hume gleefully pounces on any pretext to bash anyone or anything on the list of Fox's perceived "enemies" & on Monday (12/12) he had a golden opportunity, leading off his "Grapevine" segment of Special Report with a mini-blurb about the arch-enemy: The New York Times. In the process, he tried to hit another of Fox's traditional targets. Utterly predictable, but there's a basic question that needs to be asked: what are non-political items like this doing on a program that pretends to be about politics?

Here's how Hume read "picking" #1:

A sharply critical profile of New York Times chairman & publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr speculates whether journalistic incidents such as the Jayson Blair case & the Valerie Plame leak investigation will lead to The Times' downfall. New Yorker magazine writer Ken Auletta questions whether Sulzberger has what it takes to run the Gray Lady and ridicules everything from his humor to his manners.

I'm leaving out the last sentence, because there's going to be a quiz on it later.

Comments: The main question, of course, is: What the hell does this have to do with politics? The answer, of course, is "Nothing" -- unless you're talking about the politics of economic competition.

Here's the article by Auletta, THE INHERITANCE: Can Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., save the Times—and himself? , a long & complicated essay that is indeed critical of Sulzberger's tenure. But, unlike Hume, Auletta seems to understand that "critical" means being (dare I say it) fair & balanced, noting, for example, that

*no newspaper has won so many prizes or produced such consistently outstanding journalism
*over the next six months or so [following 9/11], the newsroom excelled and its work was recognized with a record-breaking seven Pulitzer Prizes
*the Times is today the only newspaper that generates more than a billion dollars a year in advertising.

The bulk of the article focusses on Judy Miller, & about halfway through there's this

(A disclosure: My wife, a literary agent, represents both Keller and Miller.)
The last third or so is about the economics of the newspaper business.


Here's a list of people Auletta quotes by name in the article:
*Dan Cohen (Sulzberger's cousin)
*Judith Miller (NYT reporter)
*Robert Bennett (Judith Miller’s lawyer)
*Gay Talese (author of the history of the NYT, “The Kingdom & the Power”)
*Bill Keller (executive editor, NYT)
*Todd Purdum (formerly a DC correspondent for the NYT, now national editor at Vanity Fair)
*Jennifer Steinhauer (a metro reporter)
*Susan Tifft & Alex Jones (authors of “The Trust,” a history of the Sulzberger family)
*Charles Kaiser (a reporter for the NYT in 1978)
*John F Akers (former chairman & CEO of IBM, & a Times board member)
*Howell Raines (former executive editor of the NYT)
*Floyd Abrams (the NYT’s attorney)
*Matthew Mallow (a friend of Judy Miller)
*Arthur Sulzberger, Jr
*Donald Graham (CEO of the Washington Post Co)
*Michael Golden (the Tribune’s publisher & vice-chair of the Times Co)
*Janet Robinson (CEO of the NYT Co)
*Martin A Nisenholtz ("responsible for the company’s Internet holdings")

Here's the quiz: Which of the people quoted by Auletta did Hume include in his "picking" & (bonus points) why?

Hint: Keep in mind Fox's list of enemies. No fair going to the Foxnews website for the transcript! I'll post the answer later. Anyone who guesses correctly wins a free subscription to our free weekly digest. :)

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume's obsession with smearing the NYT, the Grapevine's repeated targeting of News Corp's economic competition, Auletta's article). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.


ADDENDUM @ 12:06: brothermark & Parker guessed correctly -- out of that entire long article, Hume chose to cite precisely one of the many people quoted:

But in the eyes of openly-gay veteran journalist Charles Kaiser, who is quoted in the piece, Sulzberger is a trail blazer in one sense transforming The Times newsroom from what Kaiser calls the most homophobic institution in America to the most gay-friendly.

Ooooh, the NYT is gay-friendly!