Barry Eisler

Friday, August 08, 2014

New York Times David Streitfeld Jumps the Shark for Establishment Publishing

When it comes to Amazon and Hachette and all that, there’s just too much partisan posturing posing as journalism to tackle, and most of it Joe and I ignore. But in his latest New York Times blow job to big publishing, anti-Amazon activist David Streitfeld jumps so far over the shark that we had to mock his tendentiousness, which was excessive even by Streitfeldian standards. An excerpt from a longer post we did over at Joe's blog:
Amazon supporters point to a rival petition on Change.org. It is a rambling love song to the retailer. Signers sometimes append invective decrying the New York publishers for having the audacity to reject novels. “There is something wrong with a system that picks those who use their elitist ideas of art to choose who is published,” reads a comment.
The petition has 7,650 signatures. By comparison, a 2012 Change.org petition calling on Amazon to ban the sale of whale and dolphin meat drew over 200,000 signatures.
This is when Streitfeld really hits his full partisan stride:
* A letter that gets 909 signatures warrants a NYT headline; one that gets 7650 has no independent significance, but exists only as something “pointed to” by “Amazon supporters.”
* A letter that gets 909 letters “spread through the literary community;” one that gets over 7650 is merely a “rambling love song” (truly rich, from the guy who wrote this blow job of an article… seriously, would even one thing have read differently if it were a straight-up Hachette press release?).
* Preston’s letter doesn’t even allow for comments, which is par for the course among publishing reactionaries; for the other letter, our dispassionate reporter searches among thousands of comments for one he thinks is weak and makes sure to mention it (though is the comment really so weak? If legacy gatekeepers aren’t letting one manuscript through for every thousand they reject, why are they called “gatekeepers”?).
*A letter that gets 909 signatures stands alone; one that gets over 7650 must be compared to another letter on a totally unrelated topic that got far more. Did you catch that? The relevant Streitfeldian comparison isn’t between an anti-Amazon letter with 909 signatures and a pro-Amazon letter written in response that garnered 7650; it’s between the pro-Amazon letter and some unrelated thing Streitfeld managed to dig up about dolphin and whale meat.
Oh, and the best part? All of this is progress for Streitfeld! Seriously, he’s actually showing some improvement compared to his last outing...
My favorite part about the dolphin thing, BTW, is imagining Streitfeld sifting through scores of Change.org petitions until he found just the right one to try to make the pro-Amazon petition numbers seem unimpressive. Now that’s Streitfeldian!
Really, it’s as though Streitfeld writes a whole article about the massiveness of some guy’s four-inch manhood, and then grudgingly, almost as an aside, mentions that, well, okay, there was this guy John Holmes, who was, admittedly, like three times bigger -- but then immediately goes on to note that, of course, by comparison to the Washington Monument, which is over 500 feet, Holmes’s endowment wasn’t really all that...

Read our whole deconstruction here. Streitfeld has become an embarrassment to the New York Times; Margeret Sullivan, for the sake of the paper, please, do an intervention!
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3 Comments:

Blogger Stephen Campbell said...

If only someone would think to run a full page add in Streitfeld's paper, just in case, you know . . . somebody that reads that paper's balanced reporting of the situation hadn't yet chosen sides.

Friday, August 08, 2014 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Claire Chilton said...

I suspect there are more people in the world who would like to see whales and dolphins survive than there are authors.

I mean, I don't have the statistics, but I suspect that there aren't as many writers in the world as there are people who like dolphins. I have yet to meet a person who wanted to kill all the dolphins, but I've met many people who aren't writers.

I wonder how that blatantly obvious nugget got missed in the article...

Friday, August 08, 2014 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger the book stops here said...

What a terrific blog, Barry. I've been going after this propagandist pretending to be a journalist twice now on my own blog, and I've got a new one out with a referral and link to yours,entitled Seeking the Truth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 8:55:00 AM  

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