Monday, October 09, 2006

At Reuters, a New Book and a Lost Job
By NOAM COHEN

On Tuesday, Joe Maguire, one of two editors in charge of markets coverage at Reuters, handed his bosses the galleys of his new book, “Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter.” On Wednesday, Mr. Maguire discovered he would have plenty of free time to promote his book, which comes out this week. Neither side in this dispute would say that he was fired.

“There was a difference of opinion about the approval I received to write this book,” Mr. Maguire said. “I thought I had met the conditions, and proceeded accordingly. As a result, I no longer work there.”

Mr. Maguire, who joined Reuters in April, said the book “looks at Ann Coulter’s arguments, and deconstructs them to show how misguided they can be.”

He added: “When the political discourse has dropped to the unfathomable levels it has, someone has to say this is wrong.”

He said he was unable to interview Ms. Coulter for the book, or even get her to return e-mail or phone messages left through her publicist.

Reuters confirmed that Mr. Maguire was granted conditional approval to write his book on Ms. Coulter — a conservative lightning rod, author and TV talking head. When asked what changed once the book was ready, a company statement pointed to Reuters’ principles of “integrity, independence and freedom from bias.” The statement reads: “Our editorial policy and The Reuters Trust Principles are prominently displayed for all to see on www.about.reuters.com. Mr. Maguire’s book will soon be available. Both speak for themselves.”

Mr. Maguire’s publisher, the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins, said, “It would be very disappointing if Joe Maguire’s dismissal from Reuters had anything to do with him authoring, ‘Brainless,’ ” which it described as a “compelling and witty book.”

A Reuters employee who insisted on anonymity out of concern at angering management said that the 20 or so employees at the markets desk where Mr. Maguire had been one of two editors in charge “took a group coffee break” in solidarity on Thursday.

On Friday, the employee said, there was a meeting with Reuters management informing the workers there that Mr. Maguire would no longer be working there and that they “weren’t allowed to ask why.” Printed copies of the principles of trust were handed out, however. NOAM COHEN, NY Times

Thanks to an anonymous comment on a previous post about BRAINLESS by Joe Maguire, I was easily able to find this article. ~Stacy


At Reuters, a New Book and a Lost Job - New York Times

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Stacy - we need people who love to read to help insure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. Thanks for putting it out there.

Peter said...

I am disappointed that Reuters has performed such a craven act of self-censorship in a bid to avoid offending conservative pressure groups. To think that some Americans piss and moan and about the "liberal" media.
===================
Detectives Without Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away from Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

BookBitch said...

At one time there was a liberal media - without it, the Vietnam War might still be going on, but today that is but a distant memory.

The media has been relentlessly beaten down and finally broken by the right wing, who then turn around and use the myth of the "liberal media" to suit their needs. It was not that long ago that Politically Incorrect was cancelled by ABC because host Bill Mahr was politically incorrect.

This Reuters mess is another fine example of the hypocrisy that is going on in media today.

Peter said...

I don't attribute the media's cravenness entirely to a right-wing conspiracy. "Market forces" are at play, too. Many American cities are one-newspaper towns these days, and the last thing a paper that has to try to appeal to everyone wants to do is to offend anyone.
===================
Detectives Without Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away from Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

BookBitch said...

And let's not forget that the big boys of the "liberal media" - the TV networks, news networks, big city papers and so forth, are all owned by giant conglomerates whose best interests lie with the current administration.

What is the point of running a newspaper that doesn't offend anyone? Isn't appearing non-biased the primary objective of good journalism? Inoffensive is a completely different kettle of fish than non-biased.

If only more people were offended by what they read in the paper or saw on the news and reacted, instead of sitting back and taking it.

Anonymous said...

Growing up through the 60's and 70's, watching Watergate unfold made me believe journalism was a pretty noble profession. Bookbitch hit the nail on the head though - too many conglmerates, too much hypocrisy. I'm not sure that it helps any that many, many people get all of their news from sound bites on TV, not from reading a newspaper through and through. Which also may well explain the current administration being in place. We need to get our info from a lot of different sources - newspapers, magazines, TV and radio - see issues from different sides. And about now, given the buzz I've seen today, I wonder if Reuters realizes they may have just shot themselves in the foot.

BookBitch said...

Journalism has undergone some dramatic changes, the most important of which is the relationship of news to the bottom line.

I get most of my news online. I love the news aggregators where you can see a headline then read stories from a variety of newspapers. It gives some good perspective at times. My son has mentioned that he likes getting the news from the BBC online because it's a non-US-centric viewpoint.

Keith Olbermann did a piece tonight on TV news. A study shows that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has just as much news coverage as the network evening news shows, which translates to very shallow coverage.

Read. Read your news.

BookBitch said...

And I can't help but wonder - is "anonymous" always the same person posting? How would I know? Maybe four different people posted those comments.

Peter said...

The catch-all evil of conglomerates is not entirely to blame, either. If you were a locally owned, independent newspaper, you might feel even more pressure not to offend anyone.

===================
Detectives Without Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away from Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Agreed, online and the BBC are other good sources for the news - and for the most part, anonymous is the same person - just another person that loves to read. Usually fiction.

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