Friday, May 12, 2006

Abe Rosenthal dead at 84, incl. 61 years as a journalist

In the New York Observer, Charles Kaiser remembers NY Times editor Abe Rosenthal, who died yesterday:
Rosenthal was famously quotable, although competing publications weren’t always smart enough to use his comments. When a Watergate tape revealed that Richard Nixon had said, “I don’t give a shit what happens, I want you all to stonewall it,” The Times ... The Times printed shit for the first time, though only in the text of the tape, and not in the accompanying news story.
When a Newsweek reporter called Rosenthal to ask if this was a seismic change in the paper’s standards, he replied, “No. We’ll only take shit from the President.”
But the magazine never printed that.

Much more widely circulated was his reaction when it was revealed that Times reporter Laura Foreman had been sleeping with Pennsylvania state Sen. Henry J. "Buddy" Cianfrani, when she had been covering the politician for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I don’t care if my reporters are fucking elephants,” said Rosenthal, “as long as they aren’t covering the circus.” Then he fired Foreman.

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