It doesn’t surprise me that Margaret Sullivan, the public editor New York Times, has finally seen fit to weigh in on its absurdly one-sided coverage of the Amazon/Hachette dispute. The column’s title, “Publishing Battle Should Be Covered, Not Joined” sums up her opinion. The reporter, David Streitfeld, insists that he’s just covering the controversy. Sullivan isn’t quite buying it:
MY take: It’s important to remember that this is a tale of digital disruption,not good and evil. The establishment figures The Times has quoted on this issue, respected and renowned though they are, should have their statements subjected to critical analysis, just as Amazon’s actions should be. The Times has given a lot of ink to one side and — in story choice, tone and display — helped to portray the retailer as a literature-killing bully instead of a hard-nosed business.
I would like to see more unemotional exploration of the economic issues; more critical questioning of the statements of big-name publishing players; and greater representation of those who think Amazon may be a boon to a book-loving culture, not its killer.
That sounds about right to me.