Smolkin’s article is just under 8,000 words, and provides both a comprehensive narrative of events as well as impressive analysis. The piece features interviews with editors from the New York Times, the N&O, the Chronicle, the Herald-Sun, and Newsweek—as well as Dan Abrams, Joe Neff, Ruth Sheehan, and critics of the media’s handling of the case, such as Dan Okrent, Stuart Taylor, and me. (Nancy Grace declined Smolkin’s request for an interview, while Wendy Murphy implied that her over-the-top comments came because she was expected to play a role on cable talk shows.)
Times Executive Editor Bill Keller offered a half-hearted defense of the Times’ performance, but the Herald-Sun was defiant:
Asked to assess his paper’s coverage, Editor Bob Ashley replies: “Overall, I thought it was pretty good. We were operating in a very difficult environment with media from all over the country... It was pretty much down the middle and pretty thorough . . . We weren’t prepared for what turned out to be the enormously nonexistent case of the district attorney. It was a veteran prosecutor. He’d been here for a while . . . Given the context and the context of what we knew at the time, we were fair. We were opinionated, but we were fair.”Read the entire article here.