Bill Keller’s Great Gawker Comeback

Former NYT executive editor provides outlet with some curt media context.

In case you missed it, this week’s very bizarre New York Times daisy chain went as follows:

1) Over the weekend, former newspaper staffer Anne Cronin (now with Bloomberg View) posted a couple of her annual “Seersucker Day” photos to a private Facebook group serving NYT alumni. The pictures show newsroom staffers re-enacting, in 1997 and 2001 respectively, the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide and a Nepalese royal family massacre.

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2) An unnamed member of the Facebook group, ignoring protocol, subsequently downloaded the photos and sent them to Gawker.

3) On Tuesday, Gawker senior writer Adam Weinstein published the two photos, along with pro forma damage control comments from Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and a member of the NYT Communications team.

Followed by the best comment of all. While Andrew Rosenthal, shown in the 2001 photo, did not respond to a request for comment, former foreign desk and eventual executive editor Bill Keller, a member of the 1997 shenanigans, had this to say:

Asked by email about his part in staging the photos, Keller responded: “This is what journalists did with their childish impulses before there was Gawker.”

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