Sunday, April 3, 2011

NYT Gets Edgy and the Bloggers' Field Misses it Completely

The blogger field is up in arms about the way NYT reporter Andrew Goldman treated Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington during a recent interview.

Business Insider's Henry Blodget thumbs this quote from the CatFish:
The NYT is obviously feeling very threatened by the Huffington Post, and is reacting by lashing out blindly...
How does the CatFish justify his view? This way:
The NYT’s declared war on the Huffington Post shows no sign of dissipating, and as ever the new-look NYT Magazine is at the front lines of the attack. Andrew Goldman’s interview with Arianna Huffington is quite astonishing...Goldman’s interview, which includes this jaw-dropping exchange:
I think that hiring a slew of traditional journalists seems counter to the model that made buying you appealing to AOL.We already had 148 journalists on payroll at The Huffington Post. I don’t know how you can say that.

I look at your writers much less than I find myself clicking on stuff that’s been aggregated or the more salacious, boob-related posts.

Nasiripour’s scoop was hugely popular on the HuffPo site: wonky news and grainy photocopies can still generate 1,173 Facebook shares, 1,627 comments, and 2,760 Facebook likes. Total pageviews were surely much higher than on the NYT piece in which Wyatt aggregated Nasiripour’s information without crediting him. But Andrew Goldman doesn’t seem to be drawn to that stuff: instead he “finds himself” clicking on boobs. Which surely says more about Andrew Goldman than it does about the Huffington Post.

What’s certain is that Goldman is taking his cues from his boss...

I think the CatFish is way underwater on this one. Not only does the NYT Magazine have a new look, but it has a new sound. Goldman is a part of that new sound. If the CatFish thinks Goldman was tough on Huffington becasue of the feud between NYT and Huffington, then he clearly hasn't read Goldman before the Huffington interview, or is too tone deaf to get what is going on. The Goldman interview of Huffington is completely within the range of the shtick Goldman is developing for his NYT Mag interviews. If the CatFish blames the tough no-holds barred questions on the NYT feud/Huffington, I wonder how the Catfish explains this interview exchange between Goldman and hooker crazed Eliot Spitzer:
I was surprised to hear from someone who appeared on your show that there was actually some joking on the set about the prostitution scandal that forced you to resign. Is this something that you’re able to laugh about now?
No. Trust me, I don’t laugh about it. On the other hand, you don’t live in a hermetically sealed container and pretend things didn’t happen. It makes others feel more comfortable, I think, when they can laugh and see that it is not an issue that can never be raised.

Are there any light moments about it at home?
At home? No. Nor should there be.
What's really going on is that the NYT is feeling heat from the blogosphere and this has apparently finally gotten the Gray Lady's juices flowing. Goldman appears to be one of its answers. And it's a good one. To be sure there is some kind of feud going between Huffington and NYT, and that may have helped in Goldman choosing Huffington as an interview candidate, but there is much more going on here that the CatFish just missed. This is about a smart-ass interviewer matching wits with those corageous enough to take him on. Arianna gives as good as she gets in her interview. It is first class entertainment. I urge every one to read it.

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