‘Bitter’? Me?

Thanks, Jeanette. Brings tears to my eyes…and a little more shine to my Pulitzer!

Bitter Harvest’ Offers a Clunky Lesson in Ukrainian History


Prettily filmed yet parochial, this film follows two lovers through a mass starvation in the early 1930s.

Who wants to see a movie about a food shortage?!

Posted 24.02.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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Making an omelet doesn’t mean egging them on

To: Edit  board

From: Duranty

I sent a memo last week advising against just this:


Breaking the Anti-Immigrant Fever


Engaging in protests and public actions will embolden others to join in and hearten the vulnerable.

So our strategy is moving away from the unpredictable ballot box and toward street riots?

The problem is, the damn streets run everywhere, including up and down Eighth Avenue. Do you realize how expensive a “public action” in front of our glass-fronted building at 620 Eighth Avenue can be? The only thing keeping our doors open is civility (or laziness) on the part of half the country’s population, all of whom hate us. If we encourage the hoodie troopers to “join in and hearten the vulnerable” we should remember just how vulnerable we are.

(One more thing: If we’re going to carry guns, we really need to watch our feet:

Think of the message sent if the “day without immigrants,” in which foreign-born workers stayed home, became a week or a month.

…or a lifetime, which I think is their whole idea. Which idiot wrote this?! Did somebody forget to grab the passcard from Howell Raines?)

So just calm the hell down! Pinch, back away from the matches. Farenheit 451 and all that.



Posted 19.02.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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Underselling our immigration ban

To: Scott Shane, newsroom

From: Duranty

Subject: Immigration ban


Scott did good work on this:

News Analysis

Immigration Ban Is Unlikely to Reduce Terrorist Threat, Experts Say


The unintended consequence of President Trump’s directive, many experts believe, is that it will make the risk worse.


…but he neglected to note that the real genius behind this plan was Barack. ABC had the story of the original Muslim ban. The Obama plan was the source of the experts’ belief. We should include Barack in as much of our backgrounding as possible. In a matter of months, he’ll he leading our cause and we want him to look every bit the visionary he truly is.



Posted 29.01.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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Byron Dobell, you’ll be bored up there—but we’ll miss you

This morning’s paper carries Byron Dobell’s obit. We had hopes. Jim Goode had even rented the Guccioni reception center, but then we got word that he was going to the Other Place. Ah well, endit and all that. Good luck, Byron. We’ll rot in hell for you!

Posted 25.01.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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The trouble with ‘Trump Troubles’

To: Peter, Glenn, Maggie, newsroom

From: Duranty

Subject: ‘Trump Troubles’

Just back from the first weekend of our four-year retreat, and after talking to advertising, circ and editorial, it’s pretty clear we have a problem—or, to use our term, a ‘trouble.’

Rocky First Weekend for Trump Troubles Even His Top Aides


To the extent that there was a plan to take advantage of the first days of his administration, when a president is usually at his maximum leverage, President Trump threw it aside.

The trouble, of course, is Trump. I saw the video of Spicer’s short rant (aka, ‘briefing‘) sitting next to Adolph, Lou Fischer and Ike Deutscher. It was looped. We watched it until Lou started lip-synching the words. I got up, went to the door and turned to see Ochs soiling his pants. “What the hell was that?!” He was furious.

“That,” I said, “is our trouble.” So take notes, Peter, Glenn, Maggie. I’ve seen this before.

When a political class collapses, which is the usual consequence of one of these populist uprisings, every part of the political class collapses with it. That means, especially, the press. Imagine being the first journalist to arrive in Moscow the first week of October 1917, trying to understand the ‘trouble’ by reading the coverage in the Tsar’s favorite newspaper, Moskovskiye Vedomosti. According to Gallup and Pew, most people no longer trust us (if  you want to know how low we have sunk, I saw a poll that said people were twice as likely to trust their church as trust their newspaper!). We are on the wrong side of this historical moment, and it’s  going to last longer than Trump’s weekend.

Remember when we tried to convince New Yorkers to vote for Welprin  to replace Weiner? We got Turner, the Republican, instead. If we couldn’t influence the voters of Manhattan’s 9th district when we needed to, what chance do we have with the voters of Wisconsin or Arizona?

 To paraphrase Sally Field, they hate us, right now, they hate us.
Posted 23.01.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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