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Selling the president’s words

Post by Kim Bradford on Aug. 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
August 17, 2009 1:39 pm

When the president pens an op-ed for a newspaper, that’s news. Apparently, it’s also a business opportunity.

I refer to the New York Times Syndicate’s peddling of President Obama’s piece on health care reform from the Sunday NYT. The syndicate is selling publication rights to other newspapers $125 or more a pop.

Editorial page editors are not pleased. As Mark Mahoney from The Post-Star in New York notes in a blog post:

You’d think since we elected him the president of our country and everything, we could at least get his speeches for free.

Does the White House know that the New York Times is selling the president’s words? Are taxpayers getting a cut since they underwrote the production of that op-ed?

UPDATE: Larry Reisman from Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers says the Times has admitted its error:

New York Times Syndicate Editor Nancy Lee called me about 5 mins ago to thank me for “calling us out” on the sale. She said they would refund $$ from any sales. She admitted it was a bad call (as we all noted), but one routinely done with opeds. While she did not know exact policies/contract language she said Obama ultimately could have gotten royalties from the sales.

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