When the Plain Dealer in Cleveland reassigned its music critic Donald Rosenberg to other duties, the New York Times took up the case, quite rightly, as a possible freedom of speech violation. The matter turned out to be far more complicated and Rosenberg’s case for unfair dismissal was thrown out by a judge. The verdict was, once again, reported by the New York Times.
Last week, the Times reassigned its own music critic, Allan Kozinn. More than 1,200 readers have signed a petition calling for his reinstatement and dozens have written to the executives responsible for his demotion, Jon Landman and James Oestreich, asking for an explanation.
No statement has been issued. The response from one executive is: ‘I don’t think you’d expect me to participate in a public discussion of Times personnel matters. I can assure you, though, that our commitment to classical music coverage is undiminished.’
That’s not good enough. The Times must try to live up to the standards of propriety and transparency that it demands from others.