Monday, April 11, 2011

Deborah Solomon is gone, but her spirit still lives at the New York Times

I rejoiced when Deborah Solomon's needlessly inane interviews disappeared from the Sunday Times Magazine. Unfortunately, they've been replaced with ... needlessly inane interviews. Take this Q&A with CBS anchor Katie Couric:
Since your new book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives,” is about great advice, imagine that your boss, Les Moonves, called you on Christmas 2009 and said: “Charlie Sheen was just arrested for holding his wife at knife point. He has a history of this sort of behavior with women, but he makes a ton of money for the network.” What do you tell him?
Fire him.

Have you told him as much?
No. He hasn’t really sought my advice on Charlie Sheen. I hope what Charlie Sheen did wouldn’t be consistent with the values of this network. That’s probably an unrealistic response, but that’s my initial gut reaction. Luckily, that’s not my job.

Did you feel less proud going to work at CBS knowing that he was essentially a colleague?
I don’t really consider Charlie Sheen a colleague.
You know, this is inane bullshit. I wouldn't pick Katie Couric as one of the top five people I'd like to interview, but this is like if I asked Andrew Goldman--the interviewer--if he was less proud going to work at the New York Times because he once had Manny Ramirez as a colleague. After all, the Times owns a chunk of the Boston Red Sox, and Ramirez won the World Series MVP playing for the Red Sox, and Ramirez just retired after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. Why won't Andrew Goldman stick up for the integrity of the New York Times?!

That's ridiculous. And it's ridiculous the New York Times--which is better than this in so many ways--keeps giving space to pointless provocation. It's an insult to the interviewees, and it's an insult to the readers.

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