Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NYT is paying the piper

The Story the New York Times Won't Touch

A little more than a year ago, when the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim increased his stake in the New York Times Company (NYT), I wrote "I pity the Times Mexico bureau chief who has to tiptoe through who is and isn't out of favor with the paper's new sugar daddy." Now we have a very clear example of how the Times treats Slim within its pages; it's not pretty, and the journalistic compromise can be seen well beyond Mexico. 

For the last several days, bloggers and many business news outlets have been revealing truly astounding details from a court case involving J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) and two large Mexican telecom companies, one of which is Slim's.

According to the account in Saturday's Wall Street Journal, the way that the proposed transfer of a $225 million loan was structured would have effectively required Grupo Televisa's Cablevision division to hand over to its competitor information including its "budgets, tallies of capital investments, strategic plans, contract terms for its subscribers and plans for improvements at its growing digital network in Mexico City."

This is a scandalous story, involving one of the world's largest banks, a powerful federal judge, and two Mexican telecom giants. Under any other circumstances, the business section of the Times would be expected to cover it, as the Journal and Bloomberg have. Yet as of Saturday midday, I cannot find a single mention of any aspect of this case, anywhere in the physical New York Times, or on its Web site--not even a blog post or a wire story

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