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Bogus bargain for MCA

The New Yorker's rep for accuracy takes a hit

The New Yorker, which prides itself on immaculate fact-checking, was the victim of an embarrassing typo when, in its recent piece by Connie Bruck about Seagram topper Edgar Bronfman Jr., it discussed the $5.7 million pricetag on Matsushita’s sale of more than 80% of MCA to Seagram. The price was more like $5.7 billion.

The error was especially significant in light of Bronfman’s reported claims that the article mischaracterized his feelings and comments about former MCA execs Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg.

Bruck, who is known as a tough-minded but careful and responsible journalist, may well have had nothing to do with the typo.

The New Yorker went on to quote Bronfman in a statement that, given the typo, had unintended resonance. “We didn’t steal the company,” Bronfman said. “But we certainly succeeded in buying it below auction value.”

$5.7 million? We’d say so.