Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deja Vu in Times Reporter Banned From Real Estate Event

The New York Observer reports that New York Times reporter Christine Haughney was denied a ticket to the annual ball of the Real Estate Board of New York. Apparently thr REBNY didn't like her coverage. (H/T, Talking Biz News.)

“As one of the most sought-after tickets, there are always more requests than can be accommodated,” said a REBNY spokesman in a statement. ”We therefore limit complimentary tickets to those members of the media who are assigned to the real estate beat." Translation: the REBNY didn't like her actually covering the last ball, unlike reporters from the trade press who used the opportunity to kiss butt.

I had a remarkable sense of deja vu reading this article, as it reminded me of what the New York Stock Exchange used to do in the imperial heyday of its former chairman, Dick Grasso. Before Grasso was pushed out for being overpaid (flimsy grounds, I must admit), he was noted for using the exchange's annual media soiree as a way of punishing reporters who had crossed him. I was on the no-invite list after running stories on the way the NYSE was manipulating program trading statistics.

It's a shame that little acts of pettiness like this by Grasso didn't leak out at the time. It did reflect on the character of the man, who ultimately embarrassed the exchange and permanently damaged its franchise. There was no Internet in those days, but there was a New York Observer. Which raises another issue, how did the Observer find out? The article says that the reporter and her editor "declined to comment." Hmmmmm........

© 2010 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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