Ouch

NYT Public Editor Blasts Headline

In a strongly worded post Thursday, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan criticized the paper for an "unacceptable" front-page headline on a "questionable" article that granted total anonymity to government officials criticizing other media outlets that had reported details about intelligence gathering that the Times chose to withhold. The officials claimed that those reports about the government intercepting messages from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had caused the lines to go silent. Sullivan blasted the Times story for parroting the government line against other media outlets. "Not a shred of attribution ... just straight from the mouths of anonymous government sources into the automatic credibility conferred by the paper of record’s front page." The editor of the Times copy desk agreed that the headline was "not up to our standards."