Dear Eric Alterman,
Since you wrote a most evenhanded piece (for The Nation) about my January dismissal from The New York Times, I wanted to share this epilogue. Granted, it's more of a whimper than a scream, but it is nonetheless telling. Get ready for journalistic ethics, New York Times style.
First, some backstory. When I was dumped from the Times, I wasn't the only one shocked. So was a longtime friend of mine. Because, like me, he was a former ACT UP spokesperson. Like me, he had been flacking merely as an extension of his gay and AIDS activism and had repped several organizations. Like me, he had started as a journalist and ached to return to the field. And, like me, he was now writing for The Times.
When I was ejected in January, I immediately alerted this friend. He begged me not to go public with my story, because he felt it would cost him his longtime freelancer gig. I still contacted the media. But in all interviews, I refused to finger him. (My friend, fearful of guilt through association, subsequently distanced himself from me.)
Here's the coda: At a Thanksgiving dinner last month, I ran into a Times editor, for whom my former friend now writes. This editor was aware of my dismissal and informed me that my former ACT UP comrade was indeed called on the carpet in the wake of my ejection. Apparently, five years of freelancing for the City and Escapes sections means something; the powers-that-be decided my friend should not be shown the door. So much for a uniform NYT editorial policy.