Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Opinionated New York Times Reporter 

I guess David Cay Johnston does not like criticism:


I quoted their report, just as I quoted the FERC/task force draft report.

Journalists quote documents all the time. Many of my tax articles are built from my analysis of statistical tables and indeed I at times use algebra to develop my articles, though he reader never sees the equations, just the result.

The Cato report (and a second report not cited in the Sunday piece) said it more cogently than the Cato people I interviewed, as is often the case because when we write we get to polish and focus our language in ways we rarely do in verbal communication. And in The Times words are at an extreme premium and, in my view, so is reader time, which ought not to be abused or wasted by writing long when careful thought will allow one to write tight. Go back and see how much ground I covered in 1,800 words, or about eight minutes for the typical reader.

As I often say in my lectures to young journalists, encouraging them to work smart...

There are, with apologies to Kurt Vonnegut, two kinds of reporters, those who quote others accurately, often with no clue about the underlying principles of what they write about, and second those who explain how the world works because they have learned their subject at the level of theory and principle.

David Cay Johnston

-----Original Message-----
From: mlerner10@comcast.net
To: davidcayjohnston@aol.com
Sent: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: also posted at your blog this morning

My question is how do you quote the Cato Institute and not a specific individual there?


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