My Times: A Memoir of Dissent

My Times: A Memoir of Dissent

by John Hess
     
 

My Times is a critical look at The New York Times from the inside. John Hess worked at the paper for twenty-four years as an editor, rewrite man, foreign correspondent, investigative reporter, and food critic, from New York to Paris to the Middle East and back. In his tenure Hess rubbed shoulders and butted heads with some of the notable figures of journalism from

Overview

My Times is a critical look at The New York Times from the inside. John Hess worked at the paper for twenty-four years as an editor, rewrite man, foreign correspondent, investigative reporter, and food critic, from New York to Paris to the Middle East and back. In his tenure Hess rubbed shoulders and butted heads with some of the notable figures of journalism from the last fifty years, including Cyrus Sulzberger and his cousin Punch, A. M. Rosenthal, Seymour Hersh, Scotty Reston, and Homer Bigart.
But this isn't a lives of the saints; reporters, to Hess's observation, mostly churned out unambitious, conformist copy, and when they didn't, editors would "fix" it. He argues that the paper deliberately fudged its coverage of Vietnam at a crucial turn. He revisits the close association of the Sulzberger publishing family with the world leaders the newspaper purported to cover objectively. Later Hess shows that the Times was far better acquainted with the jet-set than with its neglected backyard; few at the paper in the 1970s seemed able to pick out the Bronx on a map. My Times is not without warmth for the Good Gray Lady. Hess praises individual reporters and editors, and notes that working for "the most influential paper in the world" gave him a platform to pursue various campaigns for justice, a few of which he recaps here: the journalistic prairie fire he set in connection with the New York State nursing home scandal; his exposé of shenanigans at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and his revelation of corruption in several administrations at City Hall.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Hess worked at the New York Times from 1954 to 1978 in various capacities, including foreign correspondent, investigative reporter, and food critic. Here he recollects that period, offering fascinating insight into his constant battles with his fellow reporters and superiors. Contending that the newspaper's reputation as objective was incorrect, Hess shows how the Times published stories that supported the establishment view, even when other information was available. He also gives examples of ignored stories that were later published in other places. Also included are some of his previous writings and a lengthy appendix of more recent articles written for other publications. Given the turbulent times in which Hess worked for the newspaper, the incidents he details are truly disturbing, and his book will generate interest in large public libraries.-Joel W. Tscherne, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583226223
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
09/01/2003
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.75(d)

Meet the Author

JOHN HESS is a veteran newspaperman and the author of Vanishing France, The Case for De Gaulle, The Grand Acquisitors, and, with his wife Karen, Taste of America. After leaving the Times Hess worked in television and radio journalism, wrote a nationally syndicated column, and freelanced for The Nation and Grand Street. Today he continues his role as media watchdog with a daily spot on WBAI's Pacifica, New York public radio. He is the holder of the Ordre National de Mérite and is the winner of the Meyer Berger Award of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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