Friedman's Complaint

Times to Foxnews.com Columnist: Go Away

Friedman wrote the Intelligencer column for New York in 1994, contributed to The New York Observer, and has been a Fox staffer since 1999. He calls himself a reporter, "a digger and a debunker" who takes his cues from his self-appointed mentor, Liz Smith. She "breaks a lot of stories," he says, but "credits everybody." Taking that rule to the absurd extreme, Friedman recently criticized Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth for not attributing a story that appeared first in the National Enquirer.

The worst rap on Friedman is that he shills for Miramax, a charge he denies. He edited an Oscar supplement for Talk magazine in 2000, and Miramax backed the 2003 r&b documentary Only the Strong Survive, which Friedman co-produced. Colleagues say his column often repeats Miramax spin. But no one is as disgusted as Waxman, who asks of Fox, "Do they hold him to journalistic standards or does he just get to slander people with impunity?" Friedman responds, "I have the same standards as the Times, I think." Three people read his column before it is published: a copy editor, his editor Refet Kaplan, and webmaster Steve Bromberg. "I will tell them in advance I'm looking at something that's tricky. . . . If something is problematic, it's vetted."

Friedman says he has nothing against the Times reporter personally. "I'm not her media critic; I'm not looking into her stories," he says. "My main complaint is that there's no citing of previous reporting in her stories. . . . I invite Sharon Waxman to lunch anywhere she likes, on any coast at any time. Just please stop this doing this thing. Just give me credit."

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