Thursday, February 26, 2009

NY Times Fell For Put-On “Support Group” Blog

When I learned about the following, I couldn’t help laughing.

Let’s start with NPR blogger Linda Holmes on Jan. 29 - - -

Isn't it totally obvious that [the blog Dating a Banker Anonymous] is a put-on?

Isn't it totally obvious that the "support group" reported on in the Times doesn't exist, that these are three women -- two writers and an attorney -- who figured out how to tap our deep societal hatred of the recession and hatred of privileged women who get away with everything, and to combine it into a big giant phenomenon that would produce so much instant vitriol that they would absolutely, definitely get a book deal?

Yes, Linda, it's obvious to most people. But the blog played so perfectly to the dominant social conceits and prejudices of the Old Grey Lady that she just couldn't see the obvious.

So on Jan. 25 under the trite, condescending headline – “It’s the Economy, Girlfriend” – the Times’ story began:

The economic crisis came home to 27-year-old Megan Petrus early last year when her boyfriend of eight months, a derivatives trader for a major bank, proved to be more concerned about helping a laid-off colleague than comforting Ms. Petrus after her father had a heart attack.

For Christine Cameron, the recession became real when the financial analyst she had been dating for about a year would get drunk and disappear while they were out together, then accuse her the next day of being the one who had absconded.

Dawn Spinner Davis, 26, a beauty writer, said the downward-trending graphs began to make sense when the man she married on Nov. 1, a 28-year-old private wealth manager, stopped playing golf, once his passion. “One of his best friends told me that my job is now to keep him calm and keep him from dying at the age of 35,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s not what I signed up for.”

They shared their sad stories the other night at an informal gathering of Dating a Banker Anonymous, a support group founded in November to help women cope with the inevitable relationship fallout from, say, the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the Dow’s shedding 777 points in a single day, as it did on Sept. 29. . . .

The Times’ story went on that way paragraph after paragraph until it finally ended with:

Despite the seemingly endless stream of disparaging remarks and shaking heads, some of the appeal of dating a banker remains.

“It’s not even about a $200 dinner,” Ms. Petrus said. “It’s that he’s an alpha male, he’s aggressive, he’s a go-getter, he doesn’t take no for an answer, he’s confident, people respect him and that creates the whole mystique of who he is.”

You can read the entire Times story here where you’ll also find the following editors’ note the Times published yesterday:

An article on Jan. 28 about women who commiserated over dating Wall Street bankers caught in the financial crisis described a group they had formed, Dating a Banker Anonymous, as a support group. That is the name of their blog.

Its creators originally told The Times that about 30 women had participated, but since publication, they have said that all involved were friends. Laney Crowell, one of the women who started the blog, said in the article that it was “very tongue in cheek;” she has since described it as a satire that embellishes true experiences for effect.

Had the nature of the blog been made clear at the outset, the article would have described it accordingly, not as a support group.

Folks, can you believe the Times tries to make it appear it’s falling for the put-on is really the fault of Laney Crowell who the Times says didn’t make clear “at the outset” “the nature of the blog?”

Talk about failing to accept responsibility!

I was reminded of Sen. Chris Dodd’s ludicrous claim that if Countrywide had made clear to him that he was getting a sweetheart “Friends of Angelo” mortgage deal, he would never have accepted it.

Hat tip: Jim Romenesko


Anonymous said...

And The NY Times wonders why it is losing readership. It has denerated to be as much a tabloid as a host of other papers - the difference is that it still maintains like the prostitute who wears a slip that it is a lady worthy of respect.