Alexander Cockburn

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

“Did we do anything wrong?”

Anyone that asks that question is probably guilty.

The most egregious lede I have ever seen in 60 years of reading The New York Times:
My wife and I sat cross-legged on the floor of a local Barnes & Noble store recently, surrounded by several large piles of books. We were searching for interior design ideas for a new home that we are planning to buy.

As we lobbed the books back and forth, sharing kitchen layouts and hardwood floor textures, we snapped a dozen pictures of book pages with our iPhones. We wanted to share them later with our contractor.

After a couple of hours of this, we placed the books back on the shelf and went home, without buying a thing. But the digital images came home with us in our smartphones.

Later that evening, I felt a few pangs of guilt. I asked my wife: Did we do anything wrong? And, I wondered, had we broken any laws by photographing those pages?

It's not as if we had destroyed anything: We didn't rip out any pages. But if we had wheeled a copier machine into the store, you can be sure the management would have soon wheeled us and the machine out of there.

But our smartphones really functioned as hand-held copiers. Did we indeed go too far?

Yes, you and your wife went too far.

And your tacky little iPhones’ theft of copyright wasn’t the half of it.

When the media get hold of a juicy story—one that inspires outrage or prurience—they will continue to run with it until something more outrageous or prurient overshadows it. Such was the case with Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandal that plagued the Clinton presidency. These pale to the gross mishandling of national public relations by the government and the private sector of China. In 50 years of being a news junkie, I cannot recall a tectonic success—the roaring Chinese economy—being so badly trashed by greed, incompetence and appalling PR. With a 1.3 billion population, China is governed by an iron-fisted Communist regime. But with millions of individual

Another shameful chapter in The New York Times story comes to an end Nov. 17, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 49 IN THE NEWS Judy Miller Fights Back with Letters to Dowd and Calame NEW YORK--Judith Miller will not go gently into that good night. Her public relations offensive, which had already taken her to CNN with Larry King and to National Public Radio and elsewhere, now includes angry published letters to two of her antagonists, former colleague Maureen Dowd and New York Times Public Editor Barney Calame. --Joe Strupp, Editor & Publisher, Nov. 13, 2005 For us news junkies, the professional demise

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