The Boston Phoenix called the paper of record "gullible" and said it was "spun" by the greasy grocer, noting, "The Times' skepticism should have been aroused by the fact that its sources [i.e., Burkle] turned over only six — six! — heavily edited minutes of roughly three hours of recordings."
TimesWatch, the New York Sun and media scribe Rachel Sklar are among those who have weighed in on the issue of the Times' motives. However, we're told there may be more news here than is fit to print.
Burkle's company Yucaipa owns Source InterLink, one of the biggest distributors of newspapers and magazines in the country. In 2004, Source InterLink and the New York Times Company signed a major distribution deal (this relationship has not been disclosed in the Times' coverage.)
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In addition, Burkle is very close to several high-ranking Times folk. He personally corresponds with many of them frequently (and has done so since the story broke), and there's a long list of Times toffs who have stayed at his Beverly Hills mansion, Green Acres, over the past year or so. We're told there are always free tickets to the $1,000-dollar-a-plate-and-up Democratic fundraisers Burkle holds there for his Gray Lady pals.
While we'd really like to believe otherwise, sources close to Burkle say he has been able to influence the Times' coverage of himself and Yucaipa. So far, the Times is the only media outlet besides the Daily News to get the much-discussed six minutes of cut-and-paste crapola. Their coverage has certainly seemed a little one-sided at best. And a promised in-depth Times piece on Burkle and his myriad inconsistencies has yet to materialize.