Yeah, yeah, okay. I know blogs are supposed to be specific and targeted and mine rambles all over when it should stick to history or beer. But.......... when a girl’s gotta rant, she’s gotta rant.
And here’s a rantable subject if I ever came across one. Deborah Solomon writes a column for the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times titled "Questions For," in which she poses questions to various "famous" people. Or not. In last Sunday’s opinion section, the newspaper's public editor revealed that Solomon routinely "reworks" her interviews after the fact. The column typically contains quotations taken out of context and questions that she never posed.
Worse yet, her bosses at the Times knew this, but failed to alert readers. According to the magazine's editor Gerald Marzorati, that's okay because Solomon's column is intended as "entertainment." Oh? That's news to me. I’ve always read Solomon’s column the way it was presented: as accurate representations of actual interviews.
On the surface, this feels like a rehash of the Jayson Blair episode of a few years ago: Blair was a Times reporter who regularly faked his sources, his quotes, and his reporting. When that story broke, his supervisors struggled to contain the damage. Heads, as they say, rolled. The Blair affair came off as a case of bureaucratic bumbling induced, perhaps, by lethargy or incompetence.
The Solomon ugliness, however, feels more like arrogant indifference induced by -- a kind of smug condescension. As if various editors at the Times are trying to woo the snarky YouTube crowd: If you’re clever and hip, you knew Solomon was having fun at her interviewees' expense. If you took her text literally, well, you’re kinda stupid and definitely unhip. Maybe I'm old (well, okay, I am. I've over fifty).
But I ain't stupid. If Solomon couldn't figure out how to do good interviews without resorting to deceit, then she's simply a bad reporter. I sure won’t read waste time reading anything else written by her. Unless, of course, she turns to fiction. I’m always up for an escape into make-believe.