The Times Fesses Up

Remember how author Daphne Merkin downplayed her brother's connection to Bernie Madoff in the Times this past weekend, describing Ezra Merkin as "a sibling who did business with him," and then suggesting that Madoff's victims weren't really victims, since no one held a gun to their heads and demanded their cash? We weren't the only ones surprised by the bizarro op-ed. The Times agrees that a bit more disclosure was warranted, according to an email a reader received from Times public editor Clark Hoyt:

Dear Reader:

Thank you for writing about the Daphne Merkin Op-Ed in Sunday's Times. I agree with you that the disclosure that Ms. Merkin's unnamed sibling "did business" with Bernard Madoff was completely inadequate. Given the degree of J. Ezra Merkin's involvement with Madoff, I think much more needed to be spelled out — including name, nature of the relationship and the subsequent lawsuits — so that readers could make up their own minds about whether any of it was relevant to Ms. Merkin's argument that Madoff's victims should be called casualties because they were eager to invest with him. Of course, they wouldn't have been eager to do so if they had known he was a swindler. And it has been reported that, in at least one case involving J. Ezra Merkin, his clients did not know that their funds were going ultimately to Madoff.

I have corresponded with Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of The Times, who agrees that there should have been greater disclosure. Mr. Rosenthal does not contemplate an editor's note. I am considering what I want to do about this.

Sincerely,

Clark Hoyt
Public Editor
The New York Times

Merkin Family Rules [Gawker]
Previously: Daphne Merkin to the Rescue [Cityfile]