IN THE NEW WORLD of never-forget internet, drag-and-drop espionage and sports are the new politics, the New York Times learned a valuable lesson from the cache class. “The Day the Patriots Empire Began to Crumble” was the headline at 4pm last Monday on nytimes.com, hours before the New York Jets proceeded to crumble at the hands of Belichick, Brady and the Foxborough favorites.
The internet promptly went nuts, storing it, saving it and picking the column apart. Columnist William Rhoden had apparently written the piece under the assumption that the New York Jets would win the important sports competition, claiming the assumed win was a turning point in the rivalry. “The Jets are in ascendancy, while New England is in retrograde,” Holden wrote, blaming this “retrograde” on SpyGate, when Bill Belichick was caught taking advantage of gray areas in league rules about recording opponents’ signals.
For most sports dudes, who are by nature Republicans, it was a chance to slap the Gray Lady across the mouth. The Times went on to revise the column with a more toned-down version that reflected the decisive outcome of the game, yet the headline remained vague: “Patriots’ Romp Stirs Questions, and Not Just for Jets.”
Jerry Thornton of Barstool Sports, who was one of the first to the web in digging up the cached column, chillingly prophesied:
The NY freaking Times … allegedly the most famous and best news outlet in the world … was so embarrassed by this claptrap that they chose to cover their tracks and pretend they never posted it. … This is why in a few years newspapers will be out of business and we’ll still be here.
Though as commenter Dooba points out:
If you deleted yesterday’s posts for being afraid of looking like idiots, there’d be nothing left on this site but a bunch of blinking banner ads and a hotdog/penis pic.
Beyond the penis pic class, the story went up the ladder to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and back to the Times‘ edit desk. In a statement to Yahoo‘s The Cutline, Times sports editor Tom Jolly explained:
As is common practice when games are played at night, Bill wrote an early column for the first edition and the Web and then updated it to reflect the outcome. This column obviously needed more updating than usual, since Bill went out on a limb in his early version.
All fine and good, but in this case … the branch broke.
In the Friday episode of Beat the Press on WGBH-TV, Emily Rooney (daughter of Andy) attempted to explain her problems with the controversy in the always entertaining “Panel Peeves”:
The headline is about the unravelling of the … you know … you know … the Patriots … franchise. … It was a placeholder and it got in, fine. That’s bad enough. But what it speaks to me, in my life, is about the fungability of sports reporting in general. Every single cliche, every single phrase can be applied and reapplied, just moved around like a checkerboard and it applies to any team.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe is reporting that government official ______ (name) has been caught doing ______ (crime) and will resign on ______ (date) after being pressured by _______ (superior).
SEARCHING FOR THE TERM “WIKILEAKS” can get some folks into a sticky situation. People-still-use Reddit published a Google Analytics map of the most popular areas where the search term “wikileaks” is entered.
Not surprisingly, northern Virginia, home to America’s intelligence community, was a hotbed of WikiLeaks search activity. A screenshot posted to Reddit claimed this to be “interesting… very interesting.”
So Media Farm did its own analysis of the Boston metro area to see where people were searching for the term “wikileaks.” Boston proper ranked number nine of 10 in regional interest, with Cambridge in at number three. Our hotbed of intelligence gathering? Quincy.
“I PAID FOR SEX WITH A 14-YEAR-OLD CHILD I found on Backpage” reads an ad taken out by The Rebecca Project, a nonprofit dedicated to “justice, dignity and policy reform for vulnerable women and girls in the United States and in Africa.” The ads were a head-on assault of Village Voice Media, owner of the very papers in which the ads were printed.
Each year, 100,000 children are sold for sex in America—many through your website, Backpage.com. Do you really want to provide a platform for predators who pay for sex with girls?
The Weekly Dig sold its local Backpage license back to VVM in 2008, but there remains no shortage of access to another local platform for the perverted underbelly of society.
“Phoenix Media/Communications Group, how may I help you?”
“Yes, I’d like to place an ad.”
“Let me transfer you, your name please?”