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First Chalabi, now Citron: New York Times gets spun again

 Yesterday's New York Times feature interview with Vonage Chairman and Founder Jeff Citron came awful close to a puff piece.Much of the story engaged in happy-talk stenographical recitation of Jeff's main talking points: Vonage (which reported its two millionth subscriber today) is in "good shape," the V-Phone is sure spreadin' the mojo around, and statements such as “when people say the competition will drive us out of business, it gives us more chutzpah to do well.
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Written by Russell Shaw on
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Yesterday's New York Times feature interview with Vonage Chairman and Founder Jeff Citron came awful close to a puff piece.

Much of the story engaged in happy-talk stenographical recitation of Jeff's main talking points: Vonage (which reported its two millionth subscriber today) is in "good shape," the V-Phone is sure spreadin' the mojo around, and statements such as “when people say the competition will drive us out of business, it gives us more chutzpah to do well.” 

What was sorely missing from the piece, though, is specific critical analysis of Vonage's many problems- overdependence on marketing, troublesome rates of subscriber churn, and the competition from multiple-play service providers as well as cheaper Internet voice services with roots in IM.

IM, by the way, that Vonage doesn't offer.

Oh, and the Ahmed Chalabi reference? He was the Iraqi defector with an agenda- trying to convince the Times' Judy Miller that Iraq had WMD at the ready.

Of course there's a world of difference between misinformation that got us into a conflict and a lack of sharply focused criticism of a well-meaning executive's happy talk. Dead soldiers and pissed-off shareholders- no comparison there.

But to say the least, don't you think the New York Times could have been more aggressive and thorough? In both cases?

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