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NY Times exec ed Bill Keller sparks online comment with Darfur remark

April 3rd, 2009Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Newspapers

An extract from comments made by New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, at the opening of the Stanford Daily’s new building this week, has sparked a flurry of comment under the original Politico.com post, which was picked up by both the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post.

Michael Calderone’s post uses quotes reported by Politico’s Tim Grieve, which include:

“Keller predicted that the Times will be ‘left standing after the deluge.'”

“Commenting on the keep-the-Times alive movement, Keller said: “Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause.””

The comments below the article particularly pick up on the latter remark, many readers angered by what they perceive as Keller’s likening of the New York Times situation with that of the crisis in Darfur. “Talk about delusions. As important as Dafur!” writes ‘CLJ124’.

The link to the article on the front page of the Politico site, meanwhile, makes reference to the fact that Keller ‘joked’.

politico

Commenter ‘Michael Green’ writes: “Some of the comments about this piece miss a point or two. One is that Mr. Keller might have been ironic in referring to saving The Times as the equivalent to saving Darfur.”

Another, ‘Stacy Harris’, writes that it “is likely a poor choice of words that, upon reflection, Keller will regret.” An anonymous commenter, writes that it was a ‘parody’: “Regarding Darfur, Keller said that, considering all of the people who have offered to donate money to keep the Times alive, it appears that at least some people equate saving the Times with saving Darfur.”

Keller is also reported by Politico to have said “If you’re inclined to trust Google as your source for news – Google yourself.”

If he does that today he will find that a Google blog search on “bill keller” now returns: http://blogsearch.google.co.uk/blogsearch?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&hs=vih&q=bill%20keller&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wb and this is the result of a Google News search: http://news.google.co.uk/news?hl=en&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=%22bill%20keller%22&sa=N&tab=bn.

Update: Bill Keller has emailed Politico, in response to the comments on the Politico post. Of his remarks he said:

“I think it’s pretty obviously a reflection of my mild astonishment at the earnest fervor with which some people have suddenly embraced the cause of saving newspapers.

“That’s matched only by my mild astonishment at the silly literal-mindedness with which some people read my occasional public comments.”

A fuller context to his comment is given in a new Politico blog post, at this link.

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  • What an insensitive lout. He has equated the genocide and horrors of Dafur with the financial plight of his newspaper! No wonder the New York Times is in trouble. The elite left use human misery for their own gain, then toss the story in the trash bin when they have wrung every last drop of blood from the narrative – its always about money and status.

    Advertisers should be ashamed to have their products featured in this sorry excuse of a newspaper.

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