In a mishap that sent tremors through the media consciousness, the New York Times earlier today sent out an email that was first attributed to spam, possibly a hack, and then acknowledged to be from the Times. It was supposed to go to 300 subscribers; instead it went to 8 million. It was, as they say, an accident. But was it, as FoxNews writes, the New York Times’s Anthony Weiner moment? Let us investigate the email. It went like this:
Dear Home Delivery Subscriber,
Our records indicate that you recently requested to cancel your home delivery subscription. Please keep in mind when your delivery service ends, you will no longer have unlimited access to NYTimes.com and our NYTimes apps.
We do hope you’ll reconsider.
As a valued Times reader we invite you to continue your current subscription at an exclusive rate of 50% off for 16 weeks. This is a limited-time offer and will no longer be valid once your current subscription ends.*
Continue your subscription and you’ll keep your free, unlimited digital access, a benefit available only for our home delivery subscribers. You’ll receive unlimited access to NYTimes.com on any device, full access to our smartphone and iPad® apps, plus you can now share your unlimited access with a family member.†
To continue your subscription call 1-877-698-0025 and mention code 38H9H (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.D.T.).
Innocuous enough, easily deletable, and having absolutely nothing to do with a sexy tweet possibly containing the personal and private agenda of a married politician. (For reference, click here [NSFW].)
Would the email have been even the slightest bit sexy, we would have kept it for posterity! Instead, we quickly interpreted as either a mistake or spam, deleted, and moved on. But the damage had been done, apparently. Not only did the Times email irresponsibly, they tried to cover it up!
When former congressman Anthony Weiner’s embarrassing photos emerged in June, he promptly lied, dissembled, and did everything possible to cover up the story. The Times appears to have a similar strategy.
First the paper tweeted that users should simply ignore the email — it came from someone else.
After an hour of confusion, misinformation and mistakes, The New York Times’ corporate communication department offered a mea culpa. The email was, in fact, simply a mistake.
JUST LIKE WHAT HAPPENED WITH ANTHONY WEINER.
Now the Times is in damage control mode and has sent this apology, while we, much like the many recipients of Anthony Weiner’s Twitter missives (except the ones getting book deals) and Anthony Weiner himself may have felt, just want the whole thing to go away.
Dear New York Times Reader,
You may have received an e-mail today from The New York Times with the subject line “Important information regarding your subscription.”
This e-mail was sent by us in error. Please disregard the message. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
The New York Times
But can we disregard such a truly heinous, perverted thing? Can we ever move beyond it? Can we…ever…trust again?
Only time will tell. After all, we’re still talking about Anthony Weiner.
[JDoll / @thisisjendoll]
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 28, 2011