|Man Without Qualities|
Saturday, December 07, 2002
Times reports that a final determination has now been made to run the two columns. The Times now "explains" that: "one column, by Dave Anderson, about the Augusta National Golf Club's refusal to admit women, gave the appearance of unnecessary intramural squabbling with the newspaper's editorial board; the second, by Harvey Araton, which also dealt with the Augusta issue, presented problems of structure and tone." But none of those "problems" has abated. Mr. Anderson's column will still squabble if it ever did, and the structure and tone of the second piece is the same as it was. So why run these columns now? Indeed, the Times is specifically denying that content was the issue: Mr. Raines said: "Some of the commentary said, `It's wrong to censor opinions of columnists.' I agree with that. That's not what happened here." So what did happen here?
Surely the Times isn't suggesting that the tone and approach of its many prior Augusta items were wrong - only that their number may have been too high. And if it is true that the problem is that "By almost any measure, the paper's coverage of Augusta has shifted from overdrive to overkill," why run two more somewhat dated Augusta items now?
In other words:
THE TIMES OFFERS NO ADMISSION OR IDENTIFICATION OF ANY FACTOR OR CIRCUMSTANCE THAT ACTUALLY WARRANTS RUNNING THESE TWO ITEMS NOW.
Or is the Times actually saying it is going to run these two columns as their authors now know them? On the surface, that seems to be the case: "We have invited Harvey and Dave to resubmit the columns," Mr. Raines said. "In the conversations, they have been reassured that the subject matter and opinion content was not an issue." He added, "And they'll come in, and we'll publish them."
But it appears the Times still plans to edit the items: Mr. Raines said in another interview, a day earlier, that the reference to the editorial could have been easily removed. "That is what we should have done," he said, adding, "I have absolutely no problems with the opinion that Dave expressed."
And how else other than by some serious editing does one fix those nasty problems of structure and tone?
Comments: Post a Comment