In yet another example of WaPo left-wing blogger and Democratic adviser Ezra Klein muddying the journalism waters, he has been running graphs from the NYT in their entirety — a move that’s upsetting the applecart in New York.
The tense discussion began on Twitter last night when NYT Graphics Editor Alan McLean questioned Klein. McLean’s former title was interface engineer for Interactive Technology group at The New York Times. He wrote, “What’s with the regular hot linking of NYT content? I’m sure we appreciate the linkbacks, but you’re including the whole graph? Taking competitor content, pasting it in your own site with minimalist attribution.” Klein had excuses: He attributes. Check. He links to the NYT. Check. Everybody’s doing it. WHAT?
The problem here is that Klein is posting the graphs in their entirety, which, ahem, makes it kind of pointless to visit the original source of the graph, even if it is just a click away.
McLean continued, “LOVE your blog, but taking a competitors graphic and including it IN your post hardly seems to do much for us.” Klein, meanwhile, says he tries to be a “good citizen” with his linking. “I also, in Wonkbook, try to do an enormous amount of linking out — much of it to NYT. I try to be a good citizen on this stuff,” he wrote. “And surely there’s some value to getting the graph (and credit) seen more widely? That’s how I view my graphs getting used.”
Klein argued that his attributions could hardly be considered “minimal.” He asked, “How is that minimal attribution?” And then he counseled the NYTer on these ever changing times and web traffic, saying, “More broadly, my graphs get pasted all over the net. NYT‘s do. Everybody’s does. It leads to traffic.”
Most recently, Klein gave a briefing to Senate Democratic Chiefs of Staff on the failing Supercommittee. It took him five days to respond to the matter, at which point he denied that it was a “briefing.” He likes to play with words. He said he “spoke” with a bunch of Democratic Chiefs of Staff. He called it a “free-ranging discussion.”
In last night’s Twitter discussion, Klein finally gave in. After all, his wife, Annie Lowry, does now work there. “But if NYT doesn’t see it that way and editors want me to stop linking to their graphs, I obviously would,” he wrote. But it was McLean who had the final word: “As I said, we appreciate the linkage. But inserting the entire graphic seems more like a repost, rather than a link back.”
We’ve requested comment from WaPo PR.