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Walter Duranty :: Our Man in Hell | New York Times reporter. Pulitzer Prize winner. One-legged man in hell. - Part 3

No irony in the lifeboats, please

To: Peter, Michael

From: Duranty

Subject: End-of-world irony

 

On the day before the world-as-we-know-it ends, I found today’s headline to be shockingly insensitive:

In Farewell, Obama Sets Red Lines That Would Pull Him Back Into Fray

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and PETER BAKER

We need to be careful not to disturb the image we have created of a man who means what he says, at least while he’s saying it. Going forward, let’s ditch the “red line” metaphor. It just triggers painful memories—not to mention terrorist attacks and all that sort of thing.

Posted 19.01.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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I’m back — and on ‘roid watch!

The new directive is clear: for the next few days, or until the inauguration, replace all references to “Donald Trump” (or “Trump Adminstration” or “Trump Era” etc) with “massive incoming asteroid”. That way, we won’t look quite so lame with our @nytimes headline today:

As Trump Era Arrives, a Sense of Uncertainty Grips the World

Posted 17.01.2017 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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Ask the lawyers

My silence isn’t intentional. In 1928, I signed a confidentiality agreement. They’re holding me to it. Back as soon as I work out a deal.

Posted 22.08.2016 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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My brilliant baton

…and for once I’m not talking about the delightful Duranty member. No! It’s the new trope we’re rolling out today:

Obama Passes Baton of Optimism to Clinton

Like? I delivered a stirring email to the staff. “We need something to lift the Cloak of Indifference! How about Passing the Pom Pom of Positivity! Or the Tentpole of Terrificness?” and pressed send. Then, you know how you know you should count to three and all that? It hit me. I immediately did a group text: “No, wait! The Baton of Optimism!” (Majorettes, anyone?) Anyway, I added my charming one-legged smiling emoji, sent it out and waited. You could instantly feel the mood lift. Suddenly Healy was whistling, “What the world needs now is love” as our morning teaser went live.

We just needed that little Duranty something. Last night the LA Times released a depressing poll showing Really Stupid Trump up by seven and the dull side of the newsroom was boosting that number by pretending to be outraged by RST asking Russia to forward Hillary’s emails when they’re done with them. I said, “You really can’t say he’s ‘encouraging a foreign power’s cyberspying,’ Sanger. It’s not like Moscow would never have had the thought.” The Russians actually don’t need the big dumb guy’s encouragement. No! Something tells me the Putin Youth BBS Brigade was already all over Hillary’s server after they read about it in our paper.

 

Posted 28.07.2016 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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First fear! Now trembling!

It was my idea to to do a pack run on Ailes. Everybody was on board. Then Dean B called everybody in and said Artie O’Jr (we can’t call him “Pinch” any more because the lawyers are worried about how it might sound in any future sexual harassment negotiations) wanted to trim the budget, so we had to cut back from five reporters to three. I said, “How the hell do you expect us to beat the Post if all we have are our three scoopers to hunt down all those blind sources? We might have to call, you know, about a dozen women.”

Anyway, you know how this is going to end by just looking at our headline:

At Fox News, Kisses, Innuendo, Propositions and Fears of Reprisal

Weak. Lame. Rutterman, Ruterberg, Rutenberg, whatever, always trying to be edgy, said, “Okay, well, how about we add ‘Gangbangs’?” But I said, “Jim, a gangbang is what we’re doing, not what we’re reporting.”

“Okay,” says Rutterbergman. “But we don’t have any actual kisses, either. So why not a gangbang? It’s just a scale thing.” I work with idiots. But idiots with the gift of approximation, an invaluable skill for our side. Take a look at our nut graf:

The Times spoke with about a dozen women who said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors. With the exception of Ms. [Rudi] Bakhtiar, they all spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing embarrassment and fear of retribution. Most continue to work in television and worry that speaking out could damage their careers.

Right. Well, let’s put it this way: that could never pass the Megyn Kelly Wardrobe Test. Way too much wiggle room. Plus, you could make a career by putting Roger’s paw-print on your undies.

I despaired. Our side had seven bylined reporters — four from Bezos’ money pit in D.C. and three from the Times — and “about a dozen” unnamed, brave and ambitious women who were afraid to jump on a well-lit, slow-moving, highly decorated bandwagon. I tried all day Saturday to get Dean to read Michael Wolff’s piece, now a half-week old. He goes, “I should read something not about me in The Hollywood Reporter? Right.”

“Dean, look. It’s a fabulous story about two dim, grasping, socially anxious brothers scheming against a powerful, intelligent father to get rid of the wise, but embarrassing old family retainer. Think Rob Lowe and Matt LeBlanc, with John Goodman and Ron Jeremy as Ailes. It’s epic! And besides our target is the whole rightwing news mill at Fox, not just the fat guy in the clown suit.”

End of discussion when Dean turns to me and says, “You spent too much time in Moscow, Walt. You want everything to be Dostoevsky. I need to sell stuff to lady liberals, so all I need is a damn Lifetime movie.”

But he did take my copy of THR, so there’s always hope.

Posted 24.07.2016 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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