Since when is silence tension?
There are a multitude of reasons people don’t return phone calls to media reporters. One, they hate them. Two, they don’t trust them. Three, they’re playing damage control. And four, wild monkeys ate their phones and they never got the message. But on Sunday, Politico media writer Dylan Byers used his best animalistic sensory telepathy skills to declare that repeated unreturned phone calls indicated “tension” within the New York Times.
That’s incredible. Has Byers bugged his story subjects’ computers, thereby turning their workspaces into webcams as they do in the weekend Lifetime thriller “The Husband She Met Online”? In the critically acclaimed (joking) film, a murderous dickhead has his girlfriend’s computer tapped so he can read all her emails and watch her in the shower. Eventually he makes her quit her job, chains her to his bed, dumps her dog on the freeway, forces her to marry him and nearly whisks her off to an island honeymoon before he’s thankfully shot to death.
We’re just wondering if Byers has somehow broken into a few computers over at the NYT, or whether his sensing what people feel who don’t return is calls is a little, well, foolish?
CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter asked Byers, “Have you sensed any regret over there at the paper about this?”
He replied, “Of course, and the way that I sense regret is through silence. I reached out to Andy Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, and Nick Kristof on Wednesday on Thursday on Friday and didn’t hear back from either of them. There’s clearly some tension going on over there about that decision.”
Byers expressed dismay that such a personal matter was playing out in the editorial pages of the New York Times. “It’s not just the Los Angeles Times that didn’t want to publish this, it’s also the editorial page did not want to publish this,” he said. “So what our sources at the Times told us is they wanted to pass on it, and essentially Nick Kristof, a friend of the family, stepped in and said I will publish the full letter on my blog. … Is that really the place for this battle to be playing out, this sort of personal family drama to be playing out, and now it’s forced the New York Times to have to address this issue and to say if we let Nick Kristof publish that piece then we have to let Woody Allen publish this piece.”
Since when do we as journalists fill in the emotional blanks for unreturned phone calls? There are many reasons for silence. But trying to deduce what they are beyond being fishy or unusual is a tad fictional.
That said, I reached out to Byers to see if he had a comment on his sensory telepathy skills. Thankfully he replied, or I would’ve had to squeeze my eyes shut and tap into my superpower sensory gland (it’s somewhere near my belly button) to conclude that incredible tension was going within Politico on the matter.
He replied, “I’ll let my comments on ‘Reliable’ stand. Thanks, Betsy.”