Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How Much Disclosure About an Op-Ed Author Is Required?; New York Times, 11/30/16

Liz Spayd, New York Times; How Much Disclosure About an Op-Ed Author Is Required? :
"Who is this woman brave enough to come forward in Facebook’s defense?
Lessin’s tagline identifies her as the founder of a technology website, The Information. And near the end of her piece, she mentions in passing that her husband briefly worked at Facebook.
What neither Lessin nor The Times’s opinion editors told readers is that Lessin and her husband, Sam, have close ties to Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Sam Lessin is a long-time friend of Zuckerberg since their days at Harvard. When young Zuckerberg was shopping for money to start his business, Sam took him around to meet investors. When Sam had a business of his own, Zuckerberg bought it, and then Sam went to work at Facebook. He became the social media giant’s vice president overseeing product, and one of a handful of top executives who reported directly to Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder was even reported to be in the wedding party when Sam and Jessica got married.
I wouldn’t expect Times editors to necessarily put all that information in a piece explaining Jessica Lessin’s connections to a company she’s writing about. But simply saying her husband “worked at Facebook for a brief period” doesn’t cut it."

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