I read this over at Amanda's, and can't believe it.
The NY Times Style section ran an article by Helaine Olen this week, discussing her nanny and how the nanny's blog ruined her family. Or something like that... It's really unclear what Mrs. Olen was attempting to do with her piece.
She paints the nanny out to be a pill-popping sexual deviant prone to nights of alcohol binging and wild promiscuity.
As Atrios said, however, the thing that sucks for newspapers these days, when they write about blogs, is that the blogs have a medium to fight back. The Nanny does an amazing and thoughtful job of acquitting herself of the scandalous charges here.
It seems to me that this falls smack in the middle of the old media/new media transition. The Times has shown itself to, quite often, be on the wrong side of this. The blogs evolved from online diaries to online discussion forums to citizens media, and the Times being willing to print an article which, with very little research, could have led to the ruin of a young woman trying to make her way in post-graduate academia is selfish, unethical, and smacks of vengeance. The article itself is the worst kind of journalism: wrapped up in the guise of a puff piece with and editorial voice, taking words and quotes out of context for the purpose of misrepresentation and slander. It's Carrie Bradshaw meets Robert Novak and Miss Manners, except without all the gratuitous breast shots, Prince of Darkness bullshit, or helpful dinner party etiquette.
I think The Nanny has a pretty good case for defamation of character, but I'm not a lawyer. What I do know is that the New York Times is continually proving themselves more and more irrelevant.