Those who caught the early edition of David Carr's Times column today probably noticed a new bit of reporting on the Page Six incident. Page Six had said that Ian Spiegelman's allegation that Page Six editor Richard Johnson had accepted $3,000 in bribes from restaurateur Nello Balan was incorrect, because Johnson had actually only accepted $1,000. In the article that ran in today's paper, Carr had originally reported that the other $2,000—intended for Page Six staffers Jeane Macintosh and Sean Gannon (now the Business editor)—had gone to pay for staff drinks. But that allegation was missing in the late editions of the paper, and is no longer online. So what's the deal?
"I spoke to the Post on Saturday morning and ran my reporting by them—that it was 3000 bucks, that Richard got $1,000 and the other $2,000 went to the other two guys," Carr told us. "I said to their spokesperson, these are very serious matters, are you certain? They said no, it's fine."
On Sunday evening, at 7 p.m.—two hours after his story had been put to bed—Carr got another phone call from Howard Rubenstein. "He said no, it was only $1,000, the other two didn't get money," Carr said. "I caught it in as many editions as I could, but the language involving more money and more players did go up on the web for a time and in the first edition. I thought it was important enough for them to go in and fix it, and there will be a correction tomorrow."
So which version is true? Carr's not a reporter to end up with bad goods very often. Was Carr manipulated by Rubenstein? "I don't think I was spun. I did my best to get it as good as I could, as quick as I could. And I thought it was important to change it because of the seriousness of it."