NYT Reviewer Hits Back At Public Editor Over Greenwald Book

May 28, 2014 6:54 p.m.

The New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan on Tuesday bashed the paper’s review of Glenn Greenwald’s book, “No Place To Hide.”

Kinsley took issue with Sullivan’s characterization of his review, and shot back on Wednesday.

“Sullivan accuses me of a ‘sneering tone’ because, among other reasons, I call Mr. Greenwald ‘a go-between.’ I assure her that I can sneer a lot worse than that if called upon to do so,” he wrote in a statement published by Sullivan.

He also defends his take on journalists and leaking government information.

In his original review, he discussed when a journalist should leak a government document, arguing that it’s not a “straightforward” issue.

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“So what do we do about leaks of government information?” Kinsley wrote. “Lock up the perpetrators or give them the Pulitzer Prize? (The Pulitzer people chose the second option.) This is not a straightforward or easy question.”

Sullivan wrote that Kinsley believed “that news organizations should simply defer to the government,” which Kinsley rebutted on Wednesday.

“The government sometimes has legitimate reasons for needing secrecy but ‘will usually be overprotective’ so the process of decision ‘should openly tilt in favor of publication with minimal delay,'” he wrote in his defense. “Does that sound like I’m saying that news organizations ‘should simply defer’? Do the people on the other side of this argument believe that the government never has a legitimate need for secrecy?”

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