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From the Publisher
My Times is a critical look at The New York Times from the inside.
John Hess worked at the paper for twenty-four years as an editor,
rewrite man, foreign correspondent, investigative reporter, and
food critic, from New York to Paris to the Middle East and back. In
his tenure Hess rubbed shoulders and butted heads with some of the
notable figures of journalism from the last fifty years, including
Cyrus Sulzberger and his cousin Punch, A. M. Rosenthal, Seymour
Hersh, Scotty Reston, and Homer Bigart.
But this isn''t a lives of the saints; reporters, to Hess''s
observation, mostly churned out unambitious, conformist copy, and
when they didn''t, editors would "fix" it. He argues that the paper
deliberately fudged its coverage of Vietnam at a crucial turn. He
revisits the close association of the Sulzberger publishing family
with the world leaders the newspaper purported to cover
objectively. Later Hess shows that the Times was far better
acquainted with the jet-set than with its neglected backyard; few
at the paper in the 1970s seemed able to pick out the Bronx on a
map. My Times is not without warmth for the Good Gray Lady. Hess
praises individual reporters and editors, and notes that working
for "the most influential paper in the world" gave him a platform
to pursue various campaigns for justice, a few of which he recaps
here: the journalistic prairie fire he set in connection with the
New York State nursing home scandal; his exposé of shenanigans at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and his revelation of corruption in
several administrations at City Hall.