P.S. on Harvey Araton, New York Times, and Penn State Coverage

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November 30, 2011
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December 2, 2011

In what I am learning is his characteristic gentlemanly way, New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton took exception to my reporting – based on an exchange between us on Twitter – that the newspaper had spiked a column he wrote the day the Penn State child-rape scandal broke.

I should put the whole controversy in perspective by noting that Araton was not even aware of my November 16 post about this until a couple of days ago. So we’re not exactly talking about the viral video of Joe Kapp cold-cocking Angelo “King Kong” Mosca at a benefit event for retired Canadian Football League players. (The links to the previous items here on this subject are at the bottom of this post.)

Harvey’s main beef was that the 140-character Twitter medium did not convey the full story of The Times’ determination that he had a conflict of interest in the Penn State story because he has a son in college there, nor Harvey’s view that the whole thing is incidental to a Times body of work on the Penn State scandal, which he considers excellent.

Araton: On Sunday morning, November 13, an editor from my department asked me to write a column. I complied, assuming he knew I was a PSU parent. It had slipped his mind and when I raised the disclosure issue after filing, it came to the attention of the sports editor. After much thoughtful deliberation that included me, the sports editor made the call – with my full consent and understanding – that my association with the school could create the impression that I was not a fully objective commentator. The section was not cheated by my absence – there was plenty of outrage to go along with the great reporting that the Times staff did. My Sunday piece was not a column but a reflective essay on parenthood and Penn State. If you didn’t enjoy or appreciate it the feeling that went into it, that is your privilege.”

Thanks, Harvey. And onward.

 

Irv Muchnick

 

BACKGROUND:

* “My Twitter Exchange With New York Times Columnist Harvey Araton re Bob Costas and Penn State” (November 15), https://concussioninc.net/?p=4975

* “Harvey Araton: New York Times Spiked My Column on Penn State Football” (November 16), https://concussioninc.net/?p=4980

* “Bob Costas Responds to My Criticism of His NBC Segment on Penn State” (November 16), https://concussioninc.net/?p=4984

* “BULLETIN: Bob Costas, Matt Chaney, and Muchnick Kiss and Make Up” (November 17), https://concussioninc.net/?p=4992

* “Harvey Araton Finally Gets The New York Times to Let Him Write a Penn State Column. It’s a Dud.” (November 27), https://concussioninc.net/?p=5015

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