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March 17, 2011

By the Chicago Bureau Chief

Interesting that the announcement of the New York Times’ pay wall should follow so closely on the heels of this interview.  David Carr, of the Times and Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, both weigh in on the iPad 2.

We find Walt Mossberg pretty blowhardy and generally not techy enough to write about tech, so we’re glad to see that his criticisms of the iPad have drawn criticism of their own.  David Carr is a point of contention among your editorial board – the Chicago Bureau Chief finds him a very entertaining interview, both for his weird, wide-mouthed, downhome midwestern accent and his baggy fitting suits.  And he doesn’t get any better than in this interview, live from SxSW where he looks and sounds like he scored some high grade coke from Bob Rodriguez right before the cameras started rolling.  (“When someone is described as the love child of a Hell’s Angel and a Sioux Indian, you’re gonna want to be able to hit that name and see that person with they’re big long hair and their feathered earring and have them talk you.”  Maybe peyote…)

But what’s we find most interesting re: the New York Times subscription plan is a lexical point.  David Carr – of the New York Times – tells us that the future of paying for news content will be delivered by Apps, which is “a sexy and wonderful word” – not subscriptions, which is a “terrible word”.

Well, it seems that the editorial board of the Times (our chief rival) didn’t consult Dave before they sent out this e-mail:

The editors of BATT wholeheartedly endorse freenyt on Twitter, the first of many easy and obvious solutions to this pay wall.

Bill Keller, Feb. 2, 2011: Talking Julian Assange

February 4, 2011

By the New York Bureau Chief

The bureau chiefs of Back At This Table haven’t spent a lot of time discussing Charlie’s current-events shows, but with the Egyptian uprising dominating the broadcast this week, even CR’s lighter moments are full of hard news. On Wednesday night, New York Times chief Bill Keller dropped by to discuss his piece on the Times‘ dealings with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. I haven’t read Keller’s article yet, but I’m pretty sure that everything he says during this interview is covered there in greater detail. Glancing at his lede, Keller even uses the same phrases, memorable constructions like “antisecrecy vigilantes.” (That’s understandable, of course. Keller’s been staring at the words of his 8,000 opus for a long time.)

Charlie knows that this interview risks feeling besides the point and, savvy man that he is, tries to move the conversation beyond the compelling-but-superficial article rehash. “What’s the criteria for saying we will or we will not publish this?” Charlie asks Keller, hoping to figure out the formula, hoping to reveal the logic and process behind the Times‘ decision-making. Keller never really answers the question—there if no formula, there is no underlying logic. Keller’s already said in the piece everything he’s going to say about Assange, his secrets, and what it means to publish them. CR’s NC charm and interviewer’s scalpel aren’t going to get any deeper. So like many of CR’s current-events shows, these 18 minutes go by briskly, dispensing lots of information but holding back the full force of the program’s greatest asset: our man Charlie Rose.


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