Monday, November 28, 2016

Did the NY Times Hold Taped Meetings With Clinton?

The Gray Lady's lips are sealed. Read this exchange between the spokeswoman for the New York Times and myself.

Here's some unsolicited advice for the paper, especially for new deputy directors AG Sulzberger and his cousins Sam Dolnick and David Perpich.

Get transparent with your political endorsement meetings.

Assuming the paper's editorial board and reporters met with Hillary Clinton, at least once and perhaps twice, before endorsing her in the primaries and general election, inform us of what conditions were requested by the candidate.

We also need to learn what ground rules the paper agreed to. Shedding light on how the Gray Lady came to endorse Clinton would show a new less-opaque way of engaging with readers.

And if there were no sitdowns, just say so. Do you agree?

-----Original Message-----
From: Eileen Murphy
To: mpetrelis
Sent: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 3:27 pm
Subject: Re: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

When editorial board meetings are conducted off the record, and most are, we don't discuss them at all.

Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 28, 2016, at 6:16 PM, "" <> wrote:
Hi Eileen,

Thanks for this reply with general info. All of these details give me and my social media followers more clarity about the workings of The Times and why we trust it so much.

Some specific followup questions I ask you to address so I can write a comprehensive report for my blog.

Did The Times hold one or more editorial board meetings with Hillary Clinton?

If so, did the candidate request the sit-down be off the record and if she did ask this of The Times, was it agreed to by the editorial board?

Lemme know, please.


-----Original Message-----
From: Murphy, Eileen <>
To: Michael Petrelis <>
Sent: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 12:45 pm
Subject: Re: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

As you will have read, this meeting with the President Elect was conducted as an on-the-record session with our reporters and editorial columnists, which is why there was a transcript and an audio recording. 

This differs greatly from our editorial board meetings, whether with Presidential candidates, or otherwise. In the case of candidates for office, these meetings are often done on an off-the-record basis, at the candidates’ request. Editorial Board meetings are not for the purpose of writing news articles. They are intended as informational sessions for the board that help inform editorials - or endorsements. 

Eileen M. Murphy
SVP, Communications
The New York Times
t. 212-556-1982 /
Twitter: @NYTeileen

-----Original Message-----
From: mpetrelis <>
To: eileen.murphy <>
Sent: Sat, Nov 26, 2016 1:26 pm
Subject: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

Dear Eileen,

While reading the many tweets from your reporters at Donald Trump's extraordinary, and well-documented, recent meeting with The Times, which proved again the vital role the paper plays in American democracy, I wondered about any similar sit-downs with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Did The Times conduct interviews with Clinton before she was twice endorsed this year by the paper - during the primary and then general fall elections?

If so, what can be disclosed to me about what transpired? I'd also like to know what the ground rules were and if you advocated for an on-the-record conversation, one that could be shared in its entirety now.

In the interests of fairness, I'm asking The Times to be as transparent as possible about any editorial endorsement meetings with Clinton and hopefully readers will be given the chance to read a full transcript or listen to an audio recording of them.

Would appreciate a substantive response at your earliest convenience. Thanks.

Michael Petrelis

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