NYT vs. GM

Letters to Editor writers of the world who feel dissed, you ain’t heard nothing yet.  This about NY Times, item #1 in today’s Poynter Online Romenesko, takes the cake.  NYT has circled wagons to protect its Thomas Friedman, as explained by the man from General Motors:

I’ve spent much of the past week trying to get a letter to the editor published in The New York Times in response to the recent Tom Friedman rant (subscription required) against GM (see “Hyperbole and Defamation at The New York Times,” June 1).

I failed. This is my story.

For those of you who haven’t read it already, Mr. Friedman spent 800 words on the Times op/ed page to accuse GM of supporting terrorists, buying votes in Congress and being a corporate “crack dealer” that posed a serious threat to America’s future. He suggested the nation would be better off if Japan’s Toyota took over GM.

Mr. Friedman later acknowledged in television interviews that the column was a bit “over the top,” but that he wanted to get our attention.

He got it.

What Romenesko, much read by news people, picked out has the point nicely summarized:

You'd think it would be relatively easy to get a letter from a GM vice president published in the Times after GM's reputation was so unfairly questioned. Just a matter of simple journalistic fairness, right? You'd also think that the newspaper's editing of letters would be minimal -- to fix grammar, remove any profane language, that sort of thing. Not so. Even for me, who worked for nearly 20 years as a reporter and editor, this was an enlightening experience.

We do live and learn, do we not?

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