More Meta Than Usual: Times Writes About Times‘ Criticism of Media Reactions to the Times Paterson Stories

drawinghands03082010.jpgNew York Times media reporter David Carr’s take on the media firestorm surrounding his own paper’s reporting on Governor David Paterson took another spin through the media recycling machine this morning when the Times‘ own Media Decoder blog published a story on Carr’s piece, heavily blockquoting Carr. The Media Decoder, with no hint of irony:

In his Media Equation column, David Carr asks what happens when your own newspaper or magazine becomes the story.

Well, apparently your own newspaper or magazine blogs about its own coverage of itself. (Then, naturally, other blogs comment on all the self-commenting.)

Meanwhile, the NYTPicker blog continues to call on the Times to, you know, seriously investigate and disclose the facts of the Paterson story, rather than yammer endlessly about the ripples of media chatter the story generates.

If you aren’t dizzy yet, more strange loops of self-reference after the jump.


Carr’s piece, “Breaking the Story That Isn’t,” focuses on the accelerated tendency in the Internet age to publish rumors of scoops in an effort to get ahead of big-time stories. This is natural, says Carr, but lately the meta-coverage has resulted in wild media speculation. In the case of Paterson, following a tweet by Observer reporter John Koblin about the rumored story, news outlets gave a great deal of play to all manner of possibilities, without much attention to the facts. Perhaps most notably, The New York Post ran a front-page headline saying “I did not have sex with that woman.” When the Times story eventually did surface, it had nothing to do with Paterson’s sex life, instead focusing on his alleged intervention into an assault case against his aide, David Johnson.

Carr proceeds to plumb his own career for examples of reporters reporting on each other. He even discusses his email exchange with Gawker’s John Cook — part of his own reporting for “Breaking the Story That Isn’t.” Cook quips, “You realize you’re daring me to do a post about what you’re working on, right?”

We certainly agree that the trend of reporting on reporting is noteworthy (hence this post, heh). But we’re also left with the impression that reporters are chasing each other’s tails, even as they warn readers of the dangers of doing so.