Bill Keller Lied

What other conclusion can be reached after Byron Calame's column in the NYT this morning? Money quote:

Internal discussions about drafts of the article had been "dragging on for weeks" before the Nov. 2 election, Mr. Keller acknowledged. That process had included talks with the Bush administration. He said a fresh draft was the subject of internal deliberations "less than a week" before the election.

"The climactic discussion about whether to publish was right on the eve of the election," Mr. Keller said. The pre-election discussions included Jill Abramson, a managing editor; Philip Taubman, the chief of the Washington bureau; Rebecca Corbett, the editor handling the story, and often Mr. Risen. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, was briefed, but Mr. Keller said the final decision to hold the story was his ...

So why did the Dec. 16 article say The Times had "delayed publication for a year," specifically ruling out the possibility that the story had been held prior to the Nov. 2 election? "It was probably inelegant wording," Mr. Keller said, who added later, "I don't know what was in my head at the time."

Were the wording and the sensitivity of the election-day timing issue discussed internally? "I don’t remember," Mr. Keller said in an interview. He does remember discussing that 'I wanted to own up to holding it." And The Times does deserve credit for disclosing that it had held the story.

It was more than inelegant, however, to report flatly that the delay had lasted "a year.' Characterizing it as "more than a year," as Mr. Keller and others later did, would have been technically accurate. But that phrase would have represented a fuzziness that Times readers shouldn’'t have to put up with when a hotly contested presidential election is involved.

"Inelegant wording?" We have a new - and rather Upper East Side - euphemism for a lie. The executive editor deliberately misled his readers to save himself from their ire. His original decision might have been defensible. His subsequent dissembling isn't.