[guest post by Dana]
The NYT has released yet another defense for having excluded Ted Cruz’s bestselling book from their bestseller list. And again, the paper refuses to provide any evidence whatsoever to back its claim that book sales were due to “strategic bulk purchases” – in spite of investigations by HarperCollins and Amazon revealing otherwise.
In this re-hashing of their previous defense, the paper attempts to deflect any blame by insinuating that HarperCollins is not trustworthy because everyone knows publishing houses want their books on the list. Can you really trust them??
“The notion that we would manipulate the best-seller list to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous. Conservative authors have routinely ranked high on our lists — Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, most recently Ann Coulter, just for a few examples,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy said in a statement. “We have also ranked policy books and memoirs in the past by Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, among many others.”
“I can’t speak to the statements by Amazon or Harper Collins — though obviously publishers are always trying to get their authors on our list — but we are confident in our conclusion about the sales patterns for the Cruz book for the week in question.”
“Our system is designed to detect anomalies and patterns that are typical of attempts to manipulate the rankings,” Murphy said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time and we apply our standards consistently, across the board. The goal is to give Times readers our best assessment of what books are broadly popular at any given time.”
The Cruz camp has responded to the latest NYT non-response:
Rick Tyler, the national spokesperson for the Cruz campaign, emails: “It is strange that The New York Times continues to deny what is now abundantly evident to everyone: Cruz’s book ‘A Time for Truth’ is a legitimate best-seller by any standard. But the ‘Gray Lady’ has chosen to purposely keep the book off its list.”
“Accusations that Cruz or the publisher manipulated book sales has now been refuted by Harper Collins, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble,” Tyler continues. “Moreover, the title has been included by other prestigious best-seller lists including The Wall Street Journal. It would seem in the interest of The New York Times to want to preserve its reputation by hiring an outside auditor but instead they have refused to even show a modicum of accountability or transparency.”
Mediaite is calling for the NYT to put up or shut up:
If this had been a simple Cruz-versus-Times political tumble, the Times would have won. Those who are predisposed to believe the word of Tea Party politicians over the so-called “newspaper of record” would have believed Cruz. But those who the Times relies on for its influence– the media, political and East Coast elites– would have inevitably believed them.
But there are now two respected media institutions backing Cruz. No doubt, HarperCollins has a motive to defend its product’s sales, but Amazon has no dog in this fight. And by continuing to include Cruz’s book on their bestsellers lists despite the controversy, respected organizations like The Wall Street Journal and Nielsen are implicitly saying the Times is wrong.
The converse is also true; by continuing to exclude Cruz, the Times is implicitly saying those respected organizations are either incompetent, hoodwinked, or in the tank for the Texas Republican. Either one is a serious charge; serious enough that it requires evidence behind it.
The Times statement argued forcefully that “the overwhelming preponderance of evidence” was not in Cruz’s favor. If there’s so much evidence pointing in that direction, it should be made public for other outlets and reporters to judge. But again, with such a strong statement, the Times only raises more questions about why other outlets missed this super-duper obvious smoking gun.
If the Times is reluctant to go public with its methodology, the paper can pull a Rolling Stone and hire an independent third party to go through the evidence and issue a public report. It might cost a pretty penny, but surely that’s better than leaving a dark cloud of suspicion hanging over what was the single most respected and cited bestsellers list in America.
I would ask this of the Times higher-ups: how would you react if a reporter’s source leveled an extremely serious allegation against a presidential candidate, said there was soooooo much evidence proving it, and then refused to produce said evidence? I say “would,” because as history has taught us, the Times has no problem passing along innuendo-laden smears of the presumptive Republican nominee.
May the truth will out quickly. No matter where it falls.
p.s. And not coincidentally, the NYT has an article in today’s paper about Amazon being accused of anti-trust violations…