Well, we all got a good cringe out of the Times's front page story that poked a gaping hole in the Daily News's coverage of 9/11 hero Cesar Borja. (He died of a lung ailment on the day that his son was Hillary Clinton's plus-one at the State of the Union address. ) Unfortunately for the News, it didn't take the Times much research to reveal that Borja hadn't actually been "on the pile" until the Christmas Eve after 9/11. Today, the Post does their predictable fun gloaty thing. Now, to be sure, the News did a MAJOR face-plant. But it's not like the Post covered itself in glory either. And then we got this totally impartial [and anonymous] email.
For once, that giant sucking sound you heard from the West 33rd Street offices of the Daily News wasn't a layoff or round of buyouts - it was a bunch of editors and reporters bidding adieu to their only shot at a Pulitzer Prize. Tuesday's New York Times front page expose of the facts behind The News' poster boy's story - that his heroic dad died from breathing poisoned air at Ground Zero as a 9/11 first responder (he didn't show up till December, the Times reported) - has turned the icing on the cake of The News' "Forgotten Victims of 9/11" series into a pie in the face. Not surprisingly, the blame for this bomb went upstairs to editor-in-chief Martin Dunn. "He wanted his tragic little family and his sad but brave heroes, and forced the story through before it could be completely verified," said one insider. Sure sounds like it: the Times got their facts straight just by looking at the cop's duty memos. "It's one thing when the Post shits on us," said another, but when the Times buries us - and they're right - everyone in journalism knows about it." And that includes those Pulitzer judges.