This is about as smart as sticking a 'kick me' sign on your own back. For those late to the story, a political blog called The National Debate put up a 'corrections' page mocking the NYT's apparent policy of not correcting factual inaccuracies in its editorial columnists' writings. Argueably, the bogus page imitated the NYT's trade dress, which might or might not fall under fair use guidelines as a parody. What cannot be argued is the folly of management in threatening the author with dire legal consequences. Shortly, the offending page had metastasized all over the blogosphere, and now a pro bono attorney has stepped forward to defend the original blogger.
Maybe the Times' management should have had a chat with some of the flacks who pitch them every day before they embarked on this course. After Jayson Blair, et. al., their credibility is already low. This little flap is allowing mockery of their inaccuracy to turn into a legitimate big vs. little media story. And the next wanna-be Times mocker knows just where to stick in the needle to get a reaction that might turn into a national story.
This blog hereby presents its Dubious Distinction award for business idiocy to the management and legal staff of the former Newspaper of Record.
Update: The NYT has backed down. Glenn Reynolds linked the item twenty minutes after this post went up. The award stands, though. I'll retract it when and if the Times actually bothers to run its own corrections.