Politico media reporter Dylan Byers gave a stern warning to NYT‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning Eric Lipton Tuesday after the NYT reporter tried to scold him.
Byers has had a roller coaster of a relationship with the NYT as of late.
One day he’s up, the next he’s down.
Tuesday was a down day as Lipton clawed at Byers for challenging the NYT story on presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio‘s (R-Fla.) $80K boat purchase. The NYT tried to paint the vessel as some sort of luxury purchase — Byers’ story questioned that premise.
“Rubio’s ‘luxury speedboat’ is a fishing boat,” the Politico headline roared.
At which point Lipton lashed out.
Byers found his inner middle school girl and shot back.
Was that a threat?
“I have the utmost respect for Lipton and for the Times,” Byers told The Mirror Tuesday night when asked to remark on the clash of words. “His attack on me was radically unfair. I report on the media. The Times mischaracterized a detail that was at the center of its otherwise excellent report. Pointing that out is part of my beat, as much as reporting on lobbying and ethics is part of his.”
Lipton did not reply to an email request for comment.
More cat hair flew as other reporters jumped into the fray to side with Byers. Ben Howe is an outspoken reporter for the right-leaning RedState; Andrew Kaczynski works for the more liberal-minded BuzzFeed.
Byers has faced a lot of heat lately, and not just the blazing sun where he resides in Los Angeles. This brand of nastiness comes with the media beat as journalists really don’t want their industry policed as much as they want their work fawned over.
Some in the conservative media recently slapped down Byers for being ABC’s puppet when the Washington Free Beacon inquired about George Stephanopoulos donating $75K to the Clinton Foundation. They saw Byers not so much a legitimate reporter, but a pawn for ABC.
Byers received similar reaction on Monday when he challenged a story by the Washington Free Beacon that declared that in 2008 the NYT endorsed Hillary Clinton in the same year that the Clintons donated $100K to the NYT charitable fund.
After catching flak, he fired back with a story about the poor relationship between the NYT and Washington Free Beacon. “The paper of record holds little regard for [Washington Free Beacon’s] brand of journalism,” he wrote.
The underlying message: This is why the NYT talked to me and not you.
Byers reported that the NYT did not respond to Washington Free Beacon on two major recent stories. A NYT spokeswoman said they have, on occasion, replied to requests from the publication.
Through it all, the Washington Free Beacon showed no trace of animosity toward Byers. Editor-in-Chief Matthew Continetti at the time told The Mirror, “Dylan Byers is doing his job–reporting. …What the New York Times and ABC News have done is dishonest hackery.”
Byers has had a relationship with the NYT, but he’s not exactly beholden to The Grey Lady. As some recall, in 2013, he wrote a devastating piece on then-NYT Executive Editor Jill Abramson. Though he mostly relied on anonymous sources, the story showed that Abramson was not a beloved figure in her own newsroom and had lost control.
A year later she was out of a job.