Carr Column in ‘NYT’ Sparks Sharp ‘Wall Street Journal’ Response

By: Joe Strupp

A war of words erupted Monday between The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal after Times Columnist David Carr wrote that the Journal had taken on a more conservative approach under Rupert Murdoch, noting its “pro-business, antigovernment shift.”

” … the newspaper is no longer anchored by those deep dives into the boardrooms of American business with quaint stippled portraits, opting instead for a much broader template of breaking general interest news articles with a particular interest in politics and big splashy photos,” Carr wrote in the column.

That prompted a sharp response from Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson.

In a statement sent to numerous media outlets, including E&P, Thomson said: “The news column by a Mr David Carr today is yet more evidence that The New York Times is uncomfortable about the rise of an increasingly successful rival while its own circulation and credibility are in retreat. The usual practice of quoting ex-employees was supplemented by a succession of anonymous quotes and unsubstantiated assertions. The attack follows the extraordinary actions of Mr Bill Keller, the Executive Editor, who, among other things, last year wrote personally and at length to a prize committee casting aspersions on Journal journalists and journalism. Whether it be in the quest for prizes or in the disparagement of competitors, principle is but a bystander at The New York Times.”

Keller responded to the Thomson memo with this comment to The New York Observer: “While David’s column clearly got under Mr. Thomson’s skin, I don’t see anything in this response that casts doubt upon it. The column was scrupulously fair and, if anything, understated, and I have no inclination to help Mr. Thomson change the subject.”

The Observer stated that Carr declined comment, stating only: ” … seems fair to have him have his say. I had mine and stand by it.”

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