RGA Receives Cease-and-Desist Letter from New York Times

At the end of last month, I shared with you an excellent grassroots effort undertaken by the Republican Governor’s Association in advance of a hotly-contested and extremely important gubernatorial race in New Jersey. On May 27, the RGA unveiled The Corzine Times, a Web site designed to provide a one-stop shop for news on the Garden State’s tax-happy, big-government-loving, fast-driving governor.

Today, I received word from RGA communications director Mike Schrimpf that the Mark Sanford-chaired group has received a cease-and-desist letter from The New York Times, claiming that The Corzine Times is “clearly intended to be nearly identical to NYTimes.com in terms of font, layout and overall design. In the letter, the Times’ Deborah Beshaw threatens “to pursue all available legal remedies” if the site as it stands now is not removed in three days.

Schrimpf was understandably cautious about the matter, offering only the same statement the RGA offered to the Washington Post — albeit an absolutely phenomenal one, as statements go:

It’s amusing to see The Gray Lady standing up for The Gray Beard, but we were hoping the Times would send a cease and desist notice to Corzine telling him not to hike taxes by another $1 billion.

The way I look at it, if the RGA was truly looking to emulate the New York Times in its Corzine Times project, it would have made an op-ed section virtually indistinguishable from its front page, fabricated stories, and attacked national politicians and presidential candidates with allegations of infidelity without providing a single named source. Right now, the only resemblance between the two is layout. Well, that and likely Web traffic.

The fact is: the New York Times used to contain All The News That’s Fit to Print. Now, it’s spin. It is the culmination of everything communications and journalism students like myself were taught not to do in Journalism 101. It has been sad to see the venerable Old Gray Lady go down the tubes in terms of objectivity and quality, and its decline is evident in the paper’s shrinking circulation numbers and declining financial health.

The Times would not have sent the letter if the folks at the RGA did not strike a nerve. Liberals confront dissent by shouting louder — it’s the same thing we see with the Fairness Doctrine, with ABC’s refusal to air opposition advertisements during next week’s Obamacare infomercial, and more. In this case, I wish the RGA all the best.

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Comments

  1. Gail B says:

    Beautiful comeback by Schrimpf!

    Changing fonts, etc., shouldn't be hard to do; but it might make bigger news if they don't change it. Course, legal consequences could be expensive.

    Regardless, the outcry has certainly brought more attention to The Corzine Times!

    Uhhh–If the similarity in sites has caused this protest from miles away, then it seems to me that a lot more people (in Washington) are looking at AR, too, for content.

    Crank it up, guys! Let 'er rip!

  2. tm says:

    OT Thought jeff would like this -
    seems the Black Panther case is getting some much needed attention:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Demands Answers
    on Voter Intimidation Case Dismissal

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/70422

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cancel your Subscriptions to all these things I would even Cancel Cable.

    Government at work and you still thinking of letting these CORRUPT MORONS get their Dirty Hands on our Health Care?

    Erosionist LIE-berals and the LIES they live boldly and foolishly.

    BO Got BC? NBC?
    LQQK see: http://www.wnd.com

  4. Claudia says:

    I used to put out a weekly paper (Gail, you and I have a lot in common) called ……Coyote News,(large print centerd) and Cold Springs & BorderTown is My Howling Area….(in a middle column centerd below the masthead – black/white etching type pic of a howling Coyote in the desert with some rocks and plants)…. and I had my format, but I put it in a magazine type setup, with 12-16 pages weekly. I did put it up on the web (using the same top format that I had on the physical paper) for a while, but that was before people had gotten the bug about reading news on the puter each day, so in order to keep my paying customers, I reverted back to the print version. Unfortunately, webnews is sort of in a aspot as far as design and capturing the reader, and all have to stay in mostly the same format and style. It makes it really hard when the page that comes up on the screen is so limited, and I am sure that plays a good part in the design of all webpages, I know that it did in my design for my paper and also for the book I wrote. About all you can play around with is content, font, spacing of the columns or not spacing them and just write your stories without columns. You cna choose differrent wording for your logo and byline tags, but no words are totally unique and ALL have been used before in one form or another. If this Corzine webpaper has applied for a copyright, then I don't think that there is anything the Times can do to them. If they didn't, then they are sort of fair game, and I would urge them to change spacing and font and maybe switch words in their byline a "bit", but not so much as to really change anything, ust to make it look a tad different. I would suggest looking into a Copyright for the little paper….. if they don't already have one, for protection and based on the fact that the two papers are in DIFFERENT states, and are therfore not able to be sued or harrassed by hte Times….

    You know, shoes are shoes all over the place, and many have almost identical designs, but all fit a bit differently, based on the weareer, not the maker.

    It is a sad day that a huge paper has to go after another, much smaller paper for any reason, but then, they have the Obamaman behind them to raise taxes on or sue this little paper out of business, sad, sad….

    Anyway, I wish the Corzine Times a lot of luck going up against the big boys, I know it is a hard game. That was one of the reasons that I chose the name of my paper to be what it was, and the fact that I do live in a small rural community that at the time, still had lots of Coyotes that howled at night — telling each other the news of the day.

  5. atlanta web design and development says:

    If they don't already have one, for protection and based on the fact that the two papers are in DIFFERENT states, and are therefore not able to be sued or harassed by the Times….

  6. Anonymous says:

    and quite frankly just how many fonts, layouts etc can we do?

    conversly, isnt it a compliment that someone would attempt to follow your lead? (actually with their problems now might not be the right time for that).

  7. Anonymous says:

    now here's the thing::: i wish anyone to weigh in on this.

    to fellow FoxNews Cable watchers who catch the B. O'reilly show occassionally:\\\

    it is my opinion that ever since Bill O'reilly announced he was writing a book about obama O'reilly seems to want to frame the opinions of others to fit what he might have already have written?

    maybe i am completely off base, but a situation about obama can be so crystal clear yet oreilly seems to want to force someone to say that they see it Bill's way (in FAVOR of obama).

    if you have had the same feelings pls post here… i am truly interested to know if anyone else is reading this the way i am?

  8. Rix says:

    Has the suit been brought already? Where, New York or New Jersey? NJ is a lawyer happy hellhole but NY has a rather powerful anti-SLAPP legislation that can likely be applicable. Not that you'd expect a Manhattan judge to use it against Pravda on the Hudson…

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