Greek Relationship between the NYTimes and Palestine: Marina Tatiana Ladas,

November 28, 2011
Cyrus Leo Sulzberger II (1912-1993) was a U.S. journalist and author, and a member of the family which owns the New York Times. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was that newspaper’s correspondent in France… The son of Leo Sulzberger, he was a nephew of Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The Times from 1935 to 1961. He was also a first cousin of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr.. He married Marina Tatiana Ladas, a Greek woman whose brother, Alexis Ladas, was a UN official in Palestine in the 1940s and 1950s. (Arab Source)…Alexis Ladas (1920-2000) … as a member of the Greek resistance movement he was captured by the Italians and spent two years in gaol[1] … political officer at UN mission in Jerusalem in mid-1950s … succeeded John Gaillard as UNCCP Liaison officer in Jerusalem in January 1954, … in 1955, he married Theamaria Ackermann Husayni, the widow of Musa Husayni, whom the Jordanians had executed for complicity in the murder of King Abdullah … Ladas was the brother of Marina Sulzberger, the Greek wife of C. L. Sulzberger  (Arab Source) … Musa Husayni aka Dr. Musa Abdullah el-Husseini … in his late 30s in 1941 … cousin of the Mufti of Jerusalem .. studied medicine in London …. also studied in Berlin – he moved to Germany at the outbreak of WW2[1] … after WW2 he was detained in Belgium and exiled to the Seychelles … after his release, he taught at Beirut university and soon after moved to Amman … failed to be elected to Jordanian parliament in 1949 and opened a travel agency in East Jerusalem, working with an Israeli travel agency to organize pilgrims’ tours of both sides of the city … hung for conspiracy in murder of King Abdullah in 1951 … his widow, Theamaria Ackermann Husseini, married Alexis Ladas in 1955 …Events involving Musa Abdullah el-Husseini: King Abdullah of Jordan assassinated (21 Jul 1951) (Arab Source)

Valerie Plame Cashes In With Spy-Novel Book Deal, Times Sees Only Victory for Feminism

March 21, 2011
Ka-ching! The Times announced with fanfare on Saturday that “outed” CIA agent Valerie Plame is cashing in once again.

It keeps getting harder to claim that the whole Plame saga wasn’t a bonanza of wealth and fame, but the Plame-loving Times is casting it as a blow for feminism. The female spy is always sexy, emerging from the surf in a bikini. Reporter Julie Bosman added: “Who better to roll her eyes at it all than Valerie Plame, the real-life glamorous former CIA operative?”
Air kiss, air kiss. Bosman declined to put a cash figure on Plame’s latest book-publishing deal:

Fed up with those popular images of the female secret agent, Ms. Wilson decided to draft her own. Eight years after her cover was blown by the political columnist Robert Novak, she has signed a book deal with Penguin Group USA to write a series of international suspense novels, with a fictional operative, Vanessa Pearson, at the center. Ms. Wilson will write them with Sarah Lovett, a best-selling author of mysteries, who also lives in Santa Fe.
The idea for the books, Ms. Wilson said, “was born out of my frustration and continuing disappointment in how female C.I.A. officers are portrayed in popular culture.”
Of course, she is a sensational figure herself, memorably posing like Grace Kelly in Vanity Fair in 2004, perched in the passenger seat of a Jaguar convertible, wearing a headscarf and large black sunglasses. (Her husband, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson, has called her Jane Bond.)

If that was the case, then they wouldn’t have much of a marriage, would they? At least Bosman listed the other Plame-Wilson cash deals in passing:

She came to this book project with some experience in the publishing industry. In 2006, Ms. Wilson landed a $2.5 million deal with Crown Publishing to publish “Fair Game,” her memoir of her days in the C.I.A. (Her book, along with her husband’s memoir, “The Politics of Truth,” was turned into a film starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.) That deal eventually fell through, and Ms. Wilson moved to Simon & Schuster, whose flagship imprint was then led by David Rosenthal.
Mr. Rosenthal published the book, which was heavily vetted and redacted by the C.I.A. and eventually released with blackened-out passages.
“It was a complicated publication, as you recall,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “Valerie obviously knows the drill.”

The New York Times’s 2011 proxy statement is out, and as usual it is good for some laughs.
Back in 2002, after Enron, the New York Times editorialized against auditors performing consulting work for companies they audit. Said one editorial:

reports that four of the five major accounting firms, including Arthur Andersen, may be moving away from offering certain consulting and internal audit services to the companies they audit is a welcome development. For too long the profession has failed to acknowledge the conflict of interest inherent in auditing a company’s books while trying to sell it other services.

Another editorial said, “Firms have placed themselves in an untenable conflict of interest by providing the same companies they audit on behalf of the public with an array of consulting services. Congress ought to pass legislation to bar such conflicts.”
Sure enough, page 70 of the New York Times Company’s 2011 proxy statement includes a table of the fees that the New York Times paid to its auditor, Ernst & Young, in fiscal 2010. $3,072,000 was for “audit fees” and $95,000 were “all other fees,” which the proxy statement says “were related to consulting services.” Inherent and untenable conflict of interest? Only when someone else does it.
The other good one in the Times proxy statement is that the “say on pay” executive pay vote is going to be limited to Class B shareholders — in other words, the Ochs-Sulzberger-Golden-Dolnick family members, rather than all the shareholders who hold economic interests in the Times company. Here’s the way the Times proxy statement explains it, on page 68:

On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”) was signed into law by President Obama. The Act provides for a number of corporate governance and executive compensation reforms, including the requirement that U.S. public companies provide stockholders a non-binding advisory vote on the compensation of the company’s named executive officers (a “say-on-pay” vote). The say-on-pay vote must occur at least once every three years, and stockholders must also be given, at least once every six years, an advisory vote regarding whether future say-on-pay votes will occur every one, two or three years (a “frequency vote”). The initial say-on-pay and frequency votes must occur at a company’s first annual stockholder meeting taking place on or after January 21, 2011. Accordingly, these matters will be vote on at our 2011 Annual Meeting.
Under our Certificate of Incorporation, an advisory vote on compensation or on the frequency of such votes is not among the expressly enumerated items as to which the Class A stock has a vote. As a result, for the Company, the say-on-pay vote and the frequency vote are items reserved for a vote of the Class B stockholders.

So Carlos Slim, who owns 16% of the Class A Shares, or around $250 million worth, gets no vote on the executive compensation.
The “say-on-pay” was in Section 951 of Dodd-Frank: “Not less frequently than once every 3 years, a proxy or consent or authorization for an annual or other meeting of the shareholders for which the proxy solicitation rules of the Commission require compensation disclosure shall include a separate resolution subject to shareholder vote to approve the compensation of executives.”
I was against say on pay for reasons explained here, but it will be interesting to see whether other companies that have multiple classes of shares also allow only the class that is family-controlled to vote in the “say” on pay. If so, it looks like it may be not so much of a “say” at all, at least for those shareholders who purchased shares rather than inheriting them.
I’m not shedding any tears for those non-family shareholders; they should have known what they were getting into, and it’s just a non-binding advisory vote anyway. Still, it looks like shareholder democracy has its limits, at least at the New York Times Company.

"Gray Lady Down," a debate on the Times, and an AY mention

March 21, 2011


Atlantic Yards Report

Having read William McGowan’s book Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of The New York Times Means for America, I knew it does not address such relatively local issues at Atlantic Yards (built by the Times Company’s business partner on the Times Tower, Forest City Ratner), but instead more ideological issues such as gay marriage, immigration, the Duke “rape” case, and the war on terror. 
So McGowan didn’t bring up Atlantic Yards during a debate last month with Michael Tomasky, American editor-at-large for the Guardian, at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. (Tomasky’s main point was that the allegedly halcyon days of the past featured flawed coverage, especially in scope, of a different stripe.)

I think the issue is somewhat murky. I have no doubt that the editorial page is committed, by virtue of the “spirit of the Times” (aka Sulzberger), to supporting Atlantic Yards, or, at least, keeping its mouth shut about dismaying details.
Is the Metro desk in the tank? I don’t think so–and I can’t let myself think so. But the Times has done, on the whole, a lousy job covering Atlantic Yards.
Editors make choices, and the Times has chosen to put far less energy into looking carefully at Atlantic Yards than at a number of other issues. Meanwhile, the Sports section laps up Nets publicity.


“Lifeforce” 1985 International one sheet image via doppelganger
and via