New York Times Public Editor Questions Al Qaeda Leak Story With ‘unacceptable’ Headline

Several journalists and a prominent Yemen expert have questioned the article’s premise, in which anonymous U.S. officials claim the leak of an intercept between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Yemen-based al Qaeda head Nasir al-Wuhayshi had prompted terrorists to change communications patterns. In early August, the U.S. government took the unprecedented step of closing 19 embassies abroad because of a terrorist threat, a move that set off a media frenzy and raised questions about the specificity of the plot. The Times reported on Aug. 2 that the U.S. had intercepted communications between senior al Qaeda operatives, a story which added to the public’s understanding of the threat. But the Times, like CNN, withheld the names of the al Qaeda leaders at the U.S. government’s request. However, McClatchy revealed the names on Aug. 4, and James Asher, the newspaper chains Washington bureau chief, defended the move. It is not unusual for CNN or the NYT to agree not to publish something because the White House asked them, Asher told HuffPost. And frankly, our democracy isn’t well served when journalists agree to censor their work. Given McClatchys decision to publish the names, some journalists who cover national security saw the Times Monday story as a swipe at a competitor and an attempt to rationalize the papers decision to withhold details because the government had raised national security concerns at the time. The journalists questioning the article — who were not permitted to speak on behalf of their employers — suggested to HuffPost that the Times didnt put McClatchys reporting in context, considering it came days after the embassies were shut down and amid several leaks from U.S. officials talking up a possible terrorist attack.

New York City Opera sings the blues over finances, plans to file for bankruptcy

Mutai, 31, was forced to drop out of the London marathon in April with an hamstring injury, but says he is back to full fitness — which he has demonstrated with a 59:06 half marathon in Udine, Italy last month. He also said he was inspired by his compatriot and occasional training partner Wilson Kipsang, who set a new official marathon world record of 2hr 3min 23sec in Berlin last weekend. “Wilson’s performance in Berlin has given me the extra impetus to do well in New York. I know the course is very tough but running 2:04 can be achievable if the weather is good,” Mutai told AFP from his training base in Kenya’s Rift Valley region. Mutai set the current New York marathon course record of 2:05.05 in 2011, laying waste to his rivals with a devastating solo breakaway through the notoriously tough final hills of New York’s Central Park. Last year’s New York marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, making Mutai the defending champion. “The marathon is becoming increasingly competitive and I am happy that there will be a strong field to compete against in New York. I am not afraid of anyone. My target will be to run my own race,” Mutai said. Mutai’s performance will be a highlight of the autumn marathon season: he ran the fastest marathon time ever recorded to win the 2011 Boston Marathon men’s crown in 2:03:02, although the time is not recognised as a world record by the IAAF because of course elevation issues. He also threw down a 2012 world best of 2:04:15 in Berlin, securing the 2011-12 World Marathon Majors series title. Mutai will face stiff opposition from the world and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, who has emerged as a surprise rival to the usually dominant Kenyans. Fellow Kenyans Stanley Biwott, Wesley Korir and Peter Kirui, the 2012 New York half marathon champion, will also be in the mix. The women’s field includes two leading Kenyans Edna Kiplagat, the two-time world champion, and the 2013 London marathon winner Prisca Jeptoo. Athletics, Track & Field

Kenya’s Mutai eyes New York marathon record

On top of that money, the opera company also needed to raise an additional $13 million by the end of 2013 to put toward future seasons, it said in a news release. Because it “did not achieve the goal of its emergency appeal,” it said in a statement Monday, “the board and management will begin the necessary financial and operational steps to wind down the Company, including initiating the Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) process.” The company had hoped to raise $1 million of the $7 million through an online site, Kickstarter.com, in a campaign that ended Monday. It raised only $301,019 from more than 2,000 donors. The organization raised $1.5 million outside of the Kickstarter campaign, according to Risa Heller, spokeswoman for the New York City Opera. “The odds have been against us for a long time,” George Steel, general manager and artistic director for the company, said in a video for the failed online campaign, “but in the face of that difficulty we have made tremendous progress.” The company, dubbed “The People’s Opera” by former New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, was founded on the principle that every New Yorker should be able to afford to go to the opera, Steel said. He explained that in order for the company to break even, it would have needed to sell every ticket for $600. Instead, the starting ticket price was set at $25 to make the experience affordable. The New York City Opera received critical praise in the past for its world premieres of works including Robert Ward’s “The Crucible” and Anthony Davis’ “The Life and Times of Malcolm X.” It opened its current season on September 17 with the opera “Anna Nicole,” which turned out to be the company’s last production. “We need the help of the people we were founded to serve to put on our season this year,” Steel had said, speaking to New York residents and opera fans everywhere. “We need you to come together and carry it forward into the future. I hope we can count on you.” In a statement from the American Federation of Musicians, President Tino Gagliardi said that despite the musicians making great sacrifices in wages and benefits to keep the City Opera afloat they long feared this would happen. “NYCO management’s reckless decisions to move the New York City Opera out of its newly renovated home at Lincoln Center … predictably resulted in financial disaster for the company,” Gagliardi said. The opera company left Lincoln Center in 2011 in an effort to save money.