provenance: unknown

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Jason Leopold's story of how he was "Shafted by the New York Times" is disturbing. Leopold (who investigated and reported on Army Secretary Thomas White's possible awareness of accounting fraud in a division of Enron that he ran) comes across as somewhat paranoid, but unless he's simply invented the facts he relates (especially the emails he says Times columnist Paul Krugman sent him), it really is hard to comprehend why he's been treated the way he was, particularly by the Times' editorial board.

A paper like the Times has tremendous authority, and the authority of the institution tends to rub off onto its members. But, heck, not only are journalists no better than anyone else, people with relatively unchecked power are often worse. The Times editorial board may or may not have judged Leopold inappropriately, but it's troubling that there's just about nothing to hold it accountable either way.

October 10, 2002 12:18 PM

Comments (and TrackBacks)

check out
for salon's response to Leopold's explanation. i don't know what to think on this one, although Leopold's actions, if true per: salon, are highly questionable.

Posted by mm on October 11, 2002 2:47 PM

Yeah; I don't know what to make of Leopold. But I tend to doubt the Times really does, either -- and publishing his confidential source's name, even if the person denies being a source, is ethically suspect, especially given that they only got the name by abusing an implicit agreement in the first place.

That said, I agree; I don't know what Leopold was thinking, either. His actions overall do sound rather like that scientist Schon at Bell Labs -- he had the results but in the end couldn't demonstrate how he got them. Maybe he really did have those conversations with Jeff Forbis, but he should know better than to expect a responsible publisher to take it on faith.

Posted by M on October 13, 2002 2:03 PM

Cynthia Cotts has a good timeline on the Leopold events:
What I find most unbelievable is that Salon's editors didn't even ask to see the e-mail in question. A bit of a mistake to say the least.

Posted by mm on October 15, 2002 12:31 PM

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