Journalism? NYT Offered Advance Approval for Fawning Liberal Column

The ongoing scandal involving a hacking attack on a major Hollywood studio has ensnared liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Dowd's March 4, 2014 column praised Sony co-chair Amy Pascal as a trailblazer for women in film. As reported by BuzzFeed, the writer at the prestigious newspaper "promised to show Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal’s husband, Bernard Weinraub, — a former Times reporter — a version of a column featuring Pascal before publication." 

When considering whether to talk to Dowd, Pascal e-mailed her husband (in all caps), "IM NOT TALKING TO HER IF SHE IS GONNA SLAM ME. PLEASE FIND OUT.” Dowd promised, "I would make sure you look great and we’d check it all and do it properly.”

In an e-mail (leaked as part of the hack) to his wife, Weinraub offered this secret: "[sic] you cant tell single person that I’m seeing the column before its printed…its not done…no p.r. people."  

BuzzFeed explained: 

Dowd quoted Pascal as saying women received “paltry” salaries compared to men in Hollywood. Pascal, according to leaked salary data from the hack, is tied for the highest earning executive at Sony Pictures with Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Pascal also told Dowd that women directors face an “unconscious mountain” of rejection.

It highlighted Pascal’s role in greenlighting movies by female directors Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, but also other Sony movies like The Social Network and American Hustle that had “impressed the guys in the boardroom,” Dowd wrote.

Pascal told Dowd there had been “a gigantic change” in 2013 thanks to female-fronted films such as Gravity, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen, and The Heat earning a combined $4 billion. Pascal also said that the problems between men and women in Hollywood are “completly unconscious” and that “Women have to help each other more. It’s our duty.”

Dowd, Pascal, and Weinraub are friendly, the emails show — Dowd would send Pascal links to New York Times stories and bought birthday presents for Pascal and Weinraub’s teenage son.

It turns out that the way Pascal’s viewpoint was presented was exactly how she and her husband, Weinraub, wanted it.

New York Times ads tout the paper for having "the world's finest journalism." Consider this embarrassing story the next time you hear that. 

New York Times Maureen Dowd
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