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The Last Word:

The Public Editor Takes On
The Critical Shopper

It was no surprise to find The New York Times' Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, had chosen Cintra Wilson's Critical Shopper review of JC Penney as his weekly subject yesterday.
His conclusion?
Pretty much everyone agreed that the review, written in Wilson's signature acerbic style, probably shouldn't have run, at least not without extensive editing. Had he read it in advance, Executive Editor Bill Keller would have pulled it from publication altogether, admitting that it “would make a fine exhibit for someone making the case that The Times has an arrogant streak.”
Styles Editor Trip Gabriel described Wilson as "a sharp-tongued writer whose columns are only to a secondary degree service journalism,” and was not expecting the volume of negative response to the piece, probably because it was no more derisive than any of her previous columns.
Because of this, Fashion Editor Anita Leclerc said “the alarms weren’t set off that should have been.”
In other words, don't blame La Cintra, she was only doing what expected of her. It's the editors who should have been more alert.
As for the writer herself,

Wilson told me she usually writes about “obscure stores that don’t exist outside of Manhattan,” and she thinks of her audience as “1,300 women in Connecticut and urban gay guys in Manhattan.” She said it was “kind of provincial of me” not to realize how big The Times was and how her audience would expand when she reviewed a store like Penney’s. She said she also thought she hit a raw nerve with people already disposed to think of The Times as disconnected and unsympathetic. “It was dumb on my part not to see this coming,” she said.

Apparently, exclusive boutiques and the wealthy folks who shop there are fair game for wicked, possibly cruel sarcasm, while middle America must be handled with kid gloves.
Apparently, the rich are tougher than most people give them credit for.
Here's to double standards in the new Millenium.
The Public Editor: The Insult Was Extra Large by Clark Hoyt (NYTimes)
Previously,
Last Week In Schadenfreude: In Defense Of Cintra Wilson

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