« Larry Craig Seeks Wider Stance On Plea-Reversal From Appeals Court; Accuses Romney Of "Throwing Me Into Highway Rest-Stop Bathroom" | Main | Video of Ann Coulter's Pogrom »
October 15, 2007

NYT's Deborah Solomon Simply Makes Up Interviews, According To the NYT

Or at least according to their useless partisan hack ombudsmen. He cannot find any bias at the paper at all, but at least he can rouse himself to criticize "interviewers" who make up questions and distort answers in order to create a false interview "transcript."

WHEN you read Deborah Solomon’s “Questions For” in The New York Times Magazine, it’s like crashing an exclusive book party at Tina Brown’s East Side garden apartment.

There you stand, sipping white wine, as Solomon and a famous author or politician or media personality trade zippy repartee. Her sharp, challenging questions elicit pithy, surprising answers — a disloyal comment about an employer, a confession to a Diet Coke habit, what’s in Jack Black’s iPod.

That is the illusion of Solomon’s column. The reality is something else: the 700 or so words each week are boiled down from interviews that sometimes last more than an hour and run 10,000 words. Though presented in a way that suggests a verbatim transcript, the order of the interview is sometimes altered, and the wording of questions is changed — for clarity or context, editors say. At least three interviews have been conducted by e-mail because the subjects couldn’t speak English or had other speech difficulties. And, Solomon told me, “Very early on, I might have inserted a question retroactively, so the interview would flow better,” a practice she said she no longer uses.

“Questions For” came under fire recently when a reporter for New York Press, a free alternative weekly, interviewed two high-profile journalists — Amy Dickinson, the advice columnist who followed Ann Landers at The Chicago Tribune, and Ira Glass, creator of the public radio program “This American Life” — who said their published interviews with Solomon contained questions she never asked.

While the vast majority of Solomon’s interview subjects have never complained, these are not the first who have. Last year, The Times Magazine published an angry letter from NBC’s Tim Russert, who said that the portrayal of his interview with her was “misleading, callous and hurtful.”

Russert, the author of two books about his father, told me that the interview had been presented as an opportunity to talk about his mom on Mother’s Day. Instead, the interview, headlined, “All About My Father,” featured a seemingly insensitive Russert dodging Solomon’s questions about his mother. “I talked at great length about my mother,” he said, but none of it appeared in the published interview. Russert said that Solomon combined questions and took “an answer and transposed it to another question.”

Gerald Marzorati, the editor of the magazine, said, “We examined his complaint and found it more or less justified.” Russert had talked about his mother, Marzorati said, and Solomon made it appear that he had not. Solomon said, “I made a mistake not putting in what he said about his mother.”

There's more, though it begins to descend into the level of inside baseball. While Solomon seems to *mostly* get the quotes right, she often presents them out of context -- indeed, with false context -- as being answers to questions that she never asked and would most likely never produce the a cutting answer had she asked such questions in the first place.

She's basically playing word-salad with interviews, moving sentences around and inventing questions to create a punchier, livelier, more readable interview... an interview, alas, that never actually took place, except later in her mind and in her edits to the transcript.

digg this
posted by Ace at 04:55 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
t-bird: "[i]Russian: Yob tyovu mat. [/i] Spanish hello: ..."

Christopher R Taylor: "[i]IMO Russia is in the Robber Baron phase of Capi ..."

Gem: "6 She's a pretty Ginger. No way she's Russian. Po ..."

platypus, gg channel: "Didn't she become a missionary or something? ..."

Mr Aspirin Factory: "The CEO of Mylan Labs (epipens) is Joe Manchin's d ..."

Christopher R Taylor: "[i]Russian: Yob tyovu mat. [/i] Privet. Use pr ..."

The Mole People: "'If'n ya want to know you'll just have to come.' ..."

BurtTC: "Pretty? I'm pretty sure that's a dude. ------- ..."

bluebell: "The best clip was this Mark Warner w/ spittle hang ..."

Miklos, optically observing: "The best clip was this Mark Warner w/ spittle hang ..."

grammie winger: "Goodnight Farmer. ..."

Tom Servo: "IMO Russia is in the Robber Baron phase of Capital ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64