Letter to NY Times Public Editor

Below you will find a letter sent to the NY Times public editor, Margaret Sullivan via email on Tuesday October 20, 2015. The letter has been formatted for this blog format

October 20, 2015

New York Times
Attn: Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor
620 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10018

Dear Ms. Sullivan

It has come to my attention that the NY Times [NYT] published a story with a sensationalized headline ‘Scandal Erupts in Unregulated World of Fantasy Sports’ Oct 5, 2015 by Joe Drape and Jacquline Williams

In this story the NYT took several liberties including publishing an employee’s name who was accused of wrong doing by internet message boards and other anti-fantasy sports media types with a clear financial agenda against the employee’s employer, Draftkings. The story in the above URL has taken several edits and even a headline change since the original posting late in the evening on Oct 4th. It was too little, too late for the employee. This employee endured an onslaught of negative media attention including and not limited to media members staking out his parents residence in Central Massachusetts. His reputation in this internet age is forever tarnished as googling his name includes an incredible 350,000 hits and on the front page of said internet search is the adjective “cheating”.

A full investigation was launched by former US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, John Pappalardo, which cleared the employee of any wrongdoing.

What is the NYT response to all of this? Do they print a retraction? If they did you certainly can’t find it on the NYT website and an unprofessional 3 word response from the writer of the piece on twitter without any links or further explanation.

I’m not the employee in question and certainly my reaction would be quite a bit different if I was. I have an intimate knowledge of the fantasy sports industry particularly daily fantasy sports as a participant for nearly four years . I suspected immediately the employee in question was innocent of all wrong doing and based on my knowledge of the industry knew the information the employee posted early to the Draftkings information site “The Playbook” was actually available to knowledgeable players in other mediums (all public websites).

I’m calling on you to immediately have the NYT change the headline of the article on October 5th on its website including a bolded hyperlink to an updated story about the employee being cleared by independent review. Additionally, I call upon your office to conduct a full journalism standards and practices review of the content in question, the follow up reporting, and the headline writing in question. I won’t make the same accusatory accusations that Mr. Drape and Ms. Williams did in their piece on October 5th. I am generally curious given your position at the NYT and your experience in the industry what your comprehensive review concludes.

I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.

Respectfully,

cb35

cb35 is an insurance professional residing in the Boston area. He is currently a top 500 ranked Grinder. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @cb35x

About the Author

Comments

  • MARJAC

    • 2015 FanDuel CFB Playboy Mansion Finalist

    Very well-written letter.

  • HooDooGuru

    • 2016 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    Thank you!

  • rico2424pp

    like your response

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    Thanks for taking the time. You did a very thorough job focusing mostly on the individual case against Ethan. Very impressive!

    I think someone else with the time, expertise, and ability to comprehensively lay out the story (maybe Dan or Jordan) needs to expand in an Op-Ed upon what this falsely reported and irresponsible bit of “journalism” has meant for the industry at large.

    For example, I am but a small piece, but there is a personal/professional impact on all of us from a perception standpoint. I am a professor conducting a legitimate study on DFS, and one of the university attorneys who I am friends with forwarded that NYT article to me and said, “You might want to re-consider getting mixed up in this mess.” Because of that and my next statement, I am legitimately concerned and wondering whether I should take his advice and flush 1.5 years of work down the drain. I don’t pretend the impact on me is anywhere close to the impact on those who have left good careers and built businesses centered on DFS.

    The other piece that needs to be laid out is that the greedy casino gaming industry seized upon this “scandal” as a means to make a power play. Obviously, there’s way more to the story, but I doubt very seriously we would have seen the avalanche that we have seen without this piece of sensationalism. Think of how much money has been lost due in part to one mistaken keystroke (by Ethan) and the irresponsible sensationalism that followed. It’s unreal!

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