Cy-Fi: Eichenwald Flubs NYT Story Submission Policy

Where we watch MSNBC’s The Cycle and Fox News’ The Five so you don’t have to…

Author Kurt Eichenwald appeared on several news programs Tuesday to discuss a much-talked about column he wrote for that morning’s NYT. In the op-ed, Eichenwald reported that he had seen classified White House briefs that suggest the Bush administration was negligent in preventing the 9/11 attacks.

As a guest on MSNBC’s The Cycle, Eichenwald told viewers that stories published by NYT and not written by the pub’s own journalists are, by default, placed on the op-ed page or in the NYT magazine. But that’s not so, says NYT‘s communications department.

On The Cycle, co-host Steve Kornacki asked Eichenwald why a story with this kind of information, would be published on the op-ed page rather than in the news section. “Because I don’t work there,” Eichenwald said with a smile. “I used to work at the New York Times and if you are somebody outside of the building, you write for the op-ed page or the magazine. … That’s the way it works.”

Eileen Murphy, VP of Corporate Communications at NYT told FishbowlDC by email that Eichenwald was wrong. “I’m not sure what he said on MSNBC, but if it’s exactly as you suggest … that is not correct,” she said. “People who do not work for the Times do write frequently in the news sections, as freelancers.” Murphy added, “However, we also run reported Op-Eds all the time.  And that is what Mr. Eichenwald’s piece was.”

Eichenwald’s publicist told us that he was mistaken on the policy. “He thought that was the case, so he submitted it as an Op-Ed,” she said.