New York Times to Atlantic Monthly: “Suck It”

The New York Times had to be a little hot under the collar when a writer from the venerated Atlantic Monthly wrote a story predicting that the Grey Lady would fold — and sooner rather than later. The timing of the story, about the same time as Stephen Colbert was saying the paper had dropped to its knees in a back alley in response to the paper of record's first-ever page-one display ad, didn't help smooth ruffled feathers. The paper could have lashed out with something like a nasty page-one story saying "Oh yeah, well we hear the Atlantic is firing irresponsible writers."

But the paper that gave us Jayson Blair didn't do that. Nope, she stayed classy. And issued an open letter that said, in effect Tina Fey-style, "suck it." But, you know, classy-like. Times Co. senior vice president of corporate communication wrote in an open letter to the Atlantic editors:

Your article "End Times," which speculates on whether The New York Times can survive the death of journalism, leaves a lot to be desired from the standpoint of . . . well, journalism.

Ouch. Round one of this old-line publishing cat fight might have to go to the Times. At least they haven't yet called all their writers into the managing editor's office to tell them "your salaries are being cut back, but hey, be happy you have jobs" a la New York magazine. But in today's death-of-print climate, that story almost qualifies as heart warming.

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