I’m trying to get in the habit of cc’ing the internet when I write to institutions, so here’s an email I sent to the New York Times public editor. I’ll update with any response I receive.
To the Public Editor,
I am writing today about “Eyes Everywhere”, a Sunday Book Review of Glenn Greenwald’s recent memoir. I found it on the web and am unclear on whether it has been published in the paper or not.
My primary criticism, which I will keep brief, boils down to the fact that this writer is clearly biased against Mr. Greenwald. While I appreciate the candor of the reviewer – no attempt to conceal the bias is made – perhaps there is someone else who could review the book who doesn’t have such an axe to grind? His sweeping generalizations (“Greenwald quotes any person or publication taking his side in any argument”), defense of weak journalism practices (“It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a free pass to make them public with no legal consequences. In a democracy (which, pace Greenwald, we still are), that decision must ultimately be made by the government.”), and assertions that Greenwald has been reckless with his reporting are all examples of a lazy review.
For the record, I’m currently a little over halfway through the book, and while it’s just a memoir and might only be interesting to a small group of people, I don’t think a book review is an appropriate place for the New York Times to continue its criticisms of Mr. Greenwald. Furthermore, I hope that the editors of theNew York Times do not share Mr. Kinsley’s views regarding the role of journalism in modern society. Expecting transparency from government institutions without the ability for journalists to publish government documents is a hopelessly naive position to take.