Pontorno's Complaint

Ex-Murdoch Employee Reveals 'Secret Society'

McGowan, a former Newsweek reporter and current Manhattan Institute fellow, points to reviews that have appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Columbia Journalism Review, and so on. These tend to see his book as biased and flawed in its own right, but commendable for raising important questions.

Journalist Jim Sleeper is also disturbed by the Times' decision not to review McGowan's book. Sleeper believes that his own review, which appeared in the L.A. Times, shows that "there is a way to do it fairly. Criticize McGowan all you want, but acknowledge the force of his argument."

One has to ask, What did McGowan expect? His book depicts Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. as the bogeyman who set the national agenda for promoting diversity, and throughout the book he takes whacks at the Times piñata. Any student of the Times knows the paper will not dignify that kind of harsh criticism with a response. Besides, a Times review that trashed McGowan's arguments would sound self-serving, while one that praised them could be construed as an admission of guilt.

"We receive thousands of books each year and we cannot review all of them," said Times spokesperson Toby Usnik. "We make our choices as best we can, with an eye toward what we think will appeal to a general audience."


ccotts@villagevoice.com

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