The New York Times, the self-described paragon of journalism, embarrassed itself totally Tuesday when it employed, and hours later fired, a “lead opinion writer” introduced on to focus “on the power, culture and consequences of technology” — as a result of the paper inadequately investigated her Twitter historical past.
Just earlier than three p.m., the Times tweeted that it had employed Quinn Norton:
Three Times officers made the official announcement:
We’re delighted to announce that Quinn Norton has joined The New York Times editorial board as our lead opinion author on the facility, tradition and penalties of know-how.
Quinn might be greatest recognized for her work at Wired, the place she reported on Anonymous, the Occupy motion, and hacker tradition and wrote commonly for the digital safety weblog Threat Level. She was additionally a columnist at Maximum PC journal for 5 years, and he or she’s written commonly for Medium and contributed to The Atlantic, ProPublica and Gizmodo. We discover ourselves at a second of profound uncertainty in regards to the function of know-how in our lives …
Quinn’s time as an embedded Occupy activist will need to have tantalized the editorial board’s devoted leftists.
The paper’s technological “uncertainty” prolonged to the right way to vet new workers’ Internet exercise.
The Times had not less than two weeks to research Norton. Her submit about her hiring signifies that she knew she had one thing to cover, and hoped she would not be came upon:
… I am buying and selling in freelance life and becoming a member of a publication full time.
I will be becoming a member of the New York Times editorial board as their know-how author.
I am as stunned as you might be. The Times approached me in January with the concept …
… As I interviewed with Katie, then James, they made it clear that they weren’t going to get delay by just a little bizarre. As for a way bizarre, effectively that is for them to find.
It did not take lengthy for real web investigators to find “the weird,” after which the Times did a hasty about-face:
NY Times Abruptly Fires Its New Nazi-Befriending Editorial Board Hire
Quinn Norton has tweeted that she’s pals with neo-Nazis, and has used slurs regularly.
… Twitter customers instantly started pointing to her previous tweets, by which she’s admitted she’s “friends with various neo-Nazis” ― although she says she has “never agreed with them.” In different tweets, she’s known as customers “fag” and used racial slurs.
… By 10 p.m., Quinn had been launched from the corporate.
The Times’s protection of the termination initially made it seem like it was her choice — “Ms. Norton mentioned in a Twitter submit that she would not be becoming a member of The Times” — however its termination announcement was not in keeping with that:
“Despite our overview of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations together with her earlier employers, this was new data to us. Based on it, we’ve determined to go our separate methods.“
Things may need been completely different if the Times truly had investigative journalists and truth-checkers skilled in investigating people’ background, expertise, and Internet exercise. Apparently, it does not.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.