How upset should I be? How upset should I be that twice now The New York Times has dissed my role in preventing Allianz from securing naming rights to the new Giants and Jets football stadium?
Saturday’s Times carried an article by Richard Sandomir on prospects for the sale of the naming rights. Here’s the third paragraph from that story:
“In 2008, the German insurance company Allianz nearly put its name on the stadium for at least $25 million a year, but a revelation by The New York Times of the connections the insurer had with the Nazi Third Reich killed the deal.” (Here’s a link to the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/sports/football/29sandomir.html)
It sounds like The Times did some nifty original reporting back in 2008. But for those who don’t remember, or didn’t see, my blog of last January 31, it wasn’t “a revelation by The Times” that killed the deal. It was a letter to the editor by yours truly that revealed Allianz’s Nazi connection and started the public backlash that killed the deal (here's my letter to the editor: http://query.nytimes.co/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E4DE1E3FF934A3575AC0A96E9C8B63&scp=1&sq=forseter&st=nyt).
Sandomir’s short, initial story on negotiations for naming rights merely identified Allianz as a German financial services company. I was the one who pointed out that Allianz insured the Nazi death camps. Only after seeing my letter did Sandomir write a longer article detailing Allianz’s relationship with the Third Reich, with no mention, I might add, of my letter. Sandomir and The Times played crucial roles, but hardly could be considered first responders to this story (here's my blog of last Jan. 31: http://nosocksneededanymore.blogspot.com/2010/01/chain-of-one-person-events.html).
When scooped, The Times has a policy of identifying the media that first broke the story. I really don’t need my name bandied about, but I do take offense to the wording used in Saturday's article. It was not “a revelation by The Times.” Rather, it should have said, “it was revealed in The Times” (through my letter).
I’m generally a decently humble guy. But I’m not going to sit idly by and let someone else take credit for one of my proudest achievements.