David E. McCraw recounts his experiences as the top newsroom lawyer for the New York Times during the most turbulent era for journalism in generations.
In October 2016, when Donald Trump's lawyer demanded that The New York Times retract an article focused on two women that accused Trump of touching them inappropriately, David McCraw's scathing letter of refusal went viral and he became a hero of press freedom everywhere. But as you'll see in Truth in Our Times, for the top newsroom lawyer at the paper of record, it was just another day at the office.
McCraw has worked at the Times since 2002, leading the paper's fight for freedom of information, defending it against libel suits, and providing legal counsel to the reporters breaking the biggest stories of the year. In short: if you've read a controversial story in the paper since the Bush administration, it went across his desk first. From Chelsea Manning's leaks to Trump's tax returns, McCraw is at the center of the paper's decisions about what news is fit to print.
In Truth in Our Times, McCraw recounts the hard legal decisions behind the most impactful stories of the last decade with candor and style. The book is simultaneously a rare peek behind the curtain of the celebrated organization, a love letter to freedom of the press, and a decisive rebuttal of Trump's fake news slur through a series of hard cases. It is an absolute must-have for any dedicated reader of The New York Times.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
DAVID MCCRAW is Deputy General Counsel at The New York Times, where he has worked since 2002. He provides legal counsel to the newsroom regarding libel, freedom of information, court access, litigation and news-gathering. Previously, he was Deputy General Counsel of The New York Daily News. He conducts workshops and performs pro bono work for freedom of press and information around the world. He is an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Law and a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School.
Table of Contents
1 Election Day 1
2 Reckless Disregard 10
3 Mystery Mail and the Box in the Courthouse 27
4 Tax Day 40
5 Day of the Gaggle 59
6 Us vs. Us 79
7 The Leaks Police 108
8 The Don of Defamation 132
9 Fake Fake News 152
10 Insecure 174
11 Weinstein & Co. 197
12 Alice in FOIA-land 216
13 A World of Trouble 235
14 One Morning a Letter 256
Afterword: The First Amendment Is Dead: A Love Story 271
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Big, Smoochy Kiss for the First Amendment I am not quite sure what I was expecting when I chose this book, but it was a far more compelling and insightful read than I imagined it would be. I was drawn to it because I wanted to see what the lawyer for the New York Times had to say about the topic since The Times seem to have been embroiled in a battle with the Trump Administration since the president's inauguration. I was curious about The Times side of the story. While the book does spend a fair portion discussing The Times versus Trump, it is far more than that. It is a riveting combination of legal history about the First Amendment as well as an in-the-moment professional memoir of the fight to keep one of our most sacred amendments to the law of the land intact. Trump is not the only one looked at here; any politician who has attempted to diminish the First Amendment up for scrutiny. The author pulls you into the surprisingly interesting world of a media lawyer to a big-name news outlet that is regularly called out by those in the highest government positions. He calls himself a “raging moderate,” which is a phrase I love and might adopt myself. You get the sense that he not only appreciates the First Amendment because it is a part of his job, but rather he sees it as one of the cornerstones necessary for a true democracy. Shame on those who want to dismantle this freedom, either by blunt force or slowly chipping away at it. The book presents a solid case about why it is important to have free speech and free press in a democracy. It lays bare the dangers if they are flouted or threatened. I thought, perhaps, when I started reading the book that it might be an interesting subject but a boring read (legalese, you know), but I couldn't have been more wrong. Because the author keeps us mostly in the moment, only summarizing occasionally, it was as much of a page-turner as any good thriller fiction. I think those on both sides of the debate of fake news should read this book to get a glimpse of how the First Amendment works from the inside, not just as an ideal. It gives you a better sense of the forces at work in the country today and what is at stake. It’s a big smoochy kiss to the First Amendment, and I think it needs a little lovin’ at the moment!