So, let me understand. David Pogue, the popular blogger contracted by the New York Times, shills for public-relations companies—demonstrating gross conflict of interest—and the consequence is what? He’s barred from making certain PR-influenced speeches?
The Times doesn’t go nearly far enough. The excuse: “Pogue is a freelancer, not a staffer. Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, noted that under the policy freelancers are held to the same standards as staff members ‘when they are on Times assignments’. In this case, he wasn’t on assignment for The Times”.
That Pogue isn’t an editorial employee is all the more reason to hold him to a higher standard, not lower one.
Compare to the misbehavior at News of the World. At least reporters there tried to break original stories. I won’t debate their methods, just make an unexpected comparison to the other extreme (seeing how both actions take place the same day). What was News of the World reporters’ consequence? Rupert Murdoch shut down the 168 year-old weekly newspaper.