Anorak News | Paper Money

Paper Money

by | 21st, July 2004

‘THE American press, like the American people, likes to believe that it is better than its equivalent in other countries.

Who will ever forget President Dewey?

US papers may be as dull as particularly murky ditchwater, but they are so buttock-clenchingly earnest that they could turn a lump of coal into a diamond in a matter of minutes.

Reporters see themselves as heirs to Woodward and Bernstein, when in fact they trace their ancestry to the pamphleteers so brilliantly satirised by Charles Dickens in Martin Chuzzlewit.

All of which only makes their recent fall from grace that much more enjoyable for the rest of us.

In the past year alone, the New York Times has lost its two most senior editors in the fall-out over Jayson Blair, the reporter who admitted fabricating many of his stories.

It has also recently published an extended correction over its coverage of the run-up to the Iraq war.

And USA Today also lost its editor after star foreign correspondent Jack Kelley was found to have made up, or plagiarised, his reports.

However, this morning we discover that fiction isn’t the preserve of the editorial department.

The Guardian reports that the circulation department can also get in on the act, artificially boosting sales figures to increase advertising revenues.

The publishers of New York Newsday and its Hispanic sister paper Hoy have stepped down after an investigation exposed deceit stretching back years.

And the paper says that Newsday has had to revise its circulation down 7% and set aside $35m to repay advertisers.

Under the scam, newsstand vendors were strong-armed into taking papers they didn’t want, papers were delivered to the homes of people who hadn’t requested it and customers were left on the distribution list if they had cancelled their subscription and even if they were dead.

Newsday’s former publisher Raymond Jansen, who resigned yesterday, said: ‘There was a rogue operation – a violation of trust.’

Rogue operation… Now where have we heard that before?’

Posted: 21st, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink