Politico reports that Times Executive Editor Bill Keller made some waves when he spoke to a Stanford University audience while dedicating a new building for the campus newspaper:
Commenting on the keep-the-Times alive movement, Keller said: "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause."
After an onlineoutcry, Keller revised and extended his Darfur comparison in an email to Politico's Michael Calderone, explaining that he was talking about fielding questions from concerned Times readers on line.
"I think it's pretty obviously a reflection of my mild astonishment at the earnest fervor with which some people have suddenly embraced the cause of saving newspapers," Keller wrote. "That's matched only by my mild astonishment at the silly literal-mindedness with which some people read my occasional public comments."
Keller, on hand for the opening of a new facility for The Stanford Daily, was commenting on the movement to keep the Times afloat and the enthusiasm recently generated to save newspapers. Before mentioning Darfur, Keller talked about how readers are increasingly concerned about the paper's fate, according to a copy of the prepared remarks.
Keller also had some tart things to say about news aggregators, an aspect of the Times' new media competition:
If you're inclined to trust Google as your source for news - Google yourself.
Strange: There are plenty of Times stories on Google News every day. Are those not to be trusted either? The American Spectator's Paul Chesser suggested a Google response to Keller's hypocrisy: "....maybe they ought to put a block on all Times stories in their news aggregator mechanism."