Tuesday, September 04, 2012

NY Times Loses Its Mind

Allan Kozinn has been reassigned to "general cultural criticism." Norman Lebrecht has the story, which Kozinn confirms on his Facebook page. Well, okay, Kozinn confirms the reassignment. Lebrecht has a lot about the supposed political machinations at the Times; I have no idea how to evaluate what he says. There is a petition at Change.org asking the Times to reinstate Kozinn.

I am tremendously sorry to hear about this, and one need only read a couple of Kozinn's articles - for example, his recent Cage piece - to understand what a mistake the Times is making.


Joe Barron said...

Typical. Kozinn is, of course, a friend of contemporary - well, modernist, music - and his loss will be felt, by me, at least. (See my remarks on Henahan, below.) And what's with the statement that Tommasini does not have the confidence of New York's opinion formners? Who are these opnion formers, and what gives them the right to form our opinions?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Kozinn is really great on modern/modernist/contemporary music of all kinds, so, yeah.

As for Tommasini and the confidence of the opinion formers, I have absolutely no information and no way to evaluate what Lebrecht says.

Zwölftöner said...

Evaluate, indeed. I don't understand how Lebrecht's source within the Times thinks he is helping Kozinn's case by leaking to this individual, who has so often put himself across as well-connected while peddling absolute junk. I noted what he wrote about the internal politics but wouldn't trust a word of it unless confirmed by a second source.

It was however totally worth reading for the rofl that came with him self-importantly promising to bend Mark Thompson's ear. Yeah, Norm'll fix it through the power of name-dropping.

Lisa Hirsch said...


Joe Barron said...

Good point about Lebrecht. He's not the most reliable source.

Daniel Wolf said...

I honestly don't know the writings of the Times critics well enough to have an supportable opinion (other than thinking that AT's biography of Virgil Thomson missed its mark), but I do wonder this: What possible scenario would now lead the Times to alter the personnel decisions for the music and culture staffs, given that the Lebrecht item has now received so much attention?

It's a bit similar to the storm following the reorganization of the company producing Sibelius notation software. The amount of attention on line, including the petition drive, has now definitely reinforced the commitment of the owner of Sibelius to hold onto the product, exactly the opposite reaction of that the petitioners were hoping to achieve. In the case of the Times, the attention to the issue now puts the judgement of the management in the spotlight, with little or no room to save face, and that is a very uncomfortable place for journalists.

Lisa Hirsch said...

What is the alternative? If nobody says anything, Kozinn gets reassigned. If people speak up, the Times then knows how people feel about this - and Kozinn stays reassigned.

It's worth noting how fast Netflix changed its tune once a bad decision was known. (Don't know whether you followed this, but they screwed up royally last year and did an about-face quickly, though not quickly enough to avoid losing some gigantic number of subscribers.)

Anonymous said...

And remember the Opera News affair, when they said they would no longer review the Met? That got turned around fast.