“Humiliating”: Another Controversy Roils The New York Times

One of the writers for the New York Times got a little too aggressive in a book review and didn’t have her facts straight. Who could have guessed such a thing could happen?

Vanity Fair reports:


Last weekend, The New York Times’s normally stately and uncontroversial Sunday Book Review became the unexpected platform for a surprising journalistic skirmish. In her assessment of Vanessa Grigoriadis’s new book, Blurred Lines, an examination of the ever-heated debate surrounding consensual sex on college campuses, writer Michelle Goldberg offered some praise before descending into a forceful critique of Grigoriadis for allegedly not having her facts straight. Goldberg’s accusations were unequivocal and, at times, savage. “When Grigoriadis moves away from individual dramas to broad cultural pronouncements, the book falters,” Goldberg wrote. “Occasionally she makes baffling errors that threaten to undermine her entire book.”

Grigoriadis’s response was fierce: she in turn chastened Goldberg for being the one with an insufficient grasp of the facts. “Not one charge she makes in her review is correct,” Grigoriadis wrote in a blistering, point-by-point rebuttal on her Facebook page. “Michelle performed some of her own (incompetent) journalism here.” Indeed, before the fracas went public, Goldberg’s piece had been appended with a monster correction.

The bizarre episode quickly became a subject of intense fascination within journalism and media circles. Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple published an exhaustive account of the contretemps on his blog, and various womens’ sites weighed in as well. In a statement on Twitter, Goldberg confessed that she would “give a kidney and five years of my life” to take back the erroneous assertions. Summarizing the affair, and expressing some frustration with the manner in which it was depicted, she wrote: “This whole thing is turning into a round robin of fuckups.”

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Oh my! How embarrassing for her.


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