NYT Upfront Slapdown: Carr Disses Itzkoff on Kimmel

New York Times columnist David Carr was too polite, apparently, to formally slap someone working for his own paper, but his latest column not-so-subtly debunked Times contributor Dave Itzkoff’s take on Jimmy Kimmel’s performance at ABC’s May 19 upfront presentation.

As I stated in an earlier post, Itzkoff seemed inordinately shocked that Kimmel could keep his job after ridiculing ABC’s failure rate with new series during a brief standup turn at the event. Of course, the latenight host reserved his most pointed gags for NBC, saying the network was destroying itself by moving Jay Leno to primetime, but never mind.

Like me, Carr has been to the rodeo a few times before, so he pointed out that “some reports” about Kimmel were wrong — without indicating that said reports were disseminated under the aegis of his own paper.

“Contrary to some reports, he killed,” Carr wrote of Kimmel. “The room, stuffed to the gills with people who have been force-fed upfront claptrap for years, shook up and down with convulsive laughter. In years past, networks have been subjected to friendly fire from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Drew Carey and Conan O’Brien as a knowing nod to all the hyperbole, so everyone there was in on the joke.”

Not a big deal, really, except A) I think the Times probably should have spelled out the fact that Carr was presumably taking exception to the paper’s own coverage; and B) this is another small sign of what can happen when reporters are assigned to a beat who lack perspective or history. Suddenly, Kimmel’s barbs at ABC are a story because the familiar blather associated with the upfronts is all minty fresh to them.

So kudos to Carr for setting the record straight. Sort of.

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