A New York magazine profile of Andrew Ross Sorkin exposes more resentment among co-workers at the New York Times over his uncommon access to Wall Street’s power brokers.
Writes Gabriel Sherman,
As Sorkin’s career has burgeoned, he’s developed another audience of close readers: his colleagues, who comb the column for evidence of favour-trading. In conversations with me, several compared Sorkin’s relationship with the Wall Street elite to disgraced former Times reporter Judith Miller’s alliance with Bush-administration officials peddling bogus intelligence in support of the Iraq War. “She got too close to her sources,” a veteran Times staffer told me. “It was disastrously wrong and we let our readers down. This is the financial equivalent of that.”
Harsh. But Executive Editor Bill Keller defends Sorkin, calling him a “classic beat reporter” who works his sources, and the superstar business journalist himself dismisses charges he’s too cozy with the people he covers.
“I think to the extent I’ve been able to get inside the room, it’s a function of hopefully coming to the table and being fair and open,” he says, “but also coming to the table and being sufficiently sceptical, but not cynical.” He adds that many of his sources hate what he writes.
Other notable nuggets from New York’s piece:
- Sources tell Sherman that Sorkin, who oversees the popular DealBook blog, earns a whopping $250,000 with a bonus attached. Sorkin, an entrepreneur as well as a reporter, pioneered DealBook as a newsletter in 2001 and turned it into a profitable business for the paper.
- Viking reportedly paid $700,000 for the rights to publish Sorkin’s hot-selling book “Too Big To Fail,” an account of the economic crash as seen through the eyes of CEOs.
- Said CEOs view Sorkin as a son. “There’s something about his boyish, Jimmy Stewart charm that the older men he deals with find incredibly winning,” said Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.
- Times business editor Larry Ingrassia admires Sorkin’s news-breaking prowess; he promoted his column from Sunday to Tuesday in part to safeguard Sorkin from weekend biz editor Tim O’Brien, who, according to Sherman’s sources, has “chafed at Sorkin’s blown deadlines and erratic writing.”
- O’Brien doesn’t deny this, going on the record even: “When Andrew had a Sunday business column and he’d drop a thinly reported or loosely written piece on the desk at the last minute on Friday night, it made us concerned about our production schedule and, occasionally about the credibility of our page. So, yeah, there were frequent tugs-of-war with him.”
- Sorkin’s biggest newsroom battle involved colleagues’ allegations he used their reporting in “Too Big To Fail” without due credit. The scoop in question: An ethics waiver Henry Paulson obtained so he could participate in the AIG bailout; two staffers got the waiver through the Freedom of Information Act; Sorkin says he learned about it through an unnamed source.
- Carter says VF has a “standing invitation” to bring Sorkin on staff. Sherman writes, “When both Portfolio and Vanity Fair tried hiring Sorkin away with mid-six-figure offers, Ingrassia asked Bill Keller if Sorkin’s compensation could be bumped up, according to a source. Keller balked.”
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