New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan blogged Sept. 12 about Russian president Vladimir Putin’s high-profile op-ed for the Times.
Putin used his Sept. 11 article, “A Plea for Caution from Russia,” to “speak directly to the American people and their political leaders” about Syria and argued that U.S. intervention would “result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders.” Putin denied that Russia was “protecting the Syrian government,” and instead said Russia wanted to abide by the United Nations Security Council. Further, Putin claimed that “opposition forces” are behind the poison gas in Syria.
According to Sullivan, Putin’s public relations firm in the U.S., Ketchum, pitched the article to “the Times editorial department,” whose editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal accepted it after a “review.” Rosenthal told Sullivan that while he didn’t “agree with many of the points in” Putin’s editorial, it was newsworthy. Rosenthal added that the New York Times publishes editorials of all kinds and Putin’s was timely, “fascinating and detailed.”
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Likewise, Sullivan said Putin’s op-ed “could hardly be more newsworthy or interesting.”
“Just as with any Op-Ed piece, The Times’s publication of this one is not an endorsement of him or his ideas,” she added, noting that Putin wasn’t paid for the article.