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Opinion: How Goldman Sachs exposed its jaw to a massive PR blow from The New York Times' op-ed page

The investment banking giant showed reporters little respect for years, and bringing on a new communications chief came a little too late

Author Guest Columnist Jason Lahita March 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM
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Jason Lahita: Would [The New York Times] have published [the op-ed] four years ago? I doubt it.

Jason Lahita


Greg Smith

Sondra Harris PR

Sondra Harris PR

March 19, 2012 — 9:16 PM

In this astute analysis, Jason reminds us of the importance—and extreme fragility—of a company’s reputation. Greg Smith’s NY Times op-ed piece presented Goldman with an immediate loss of more than $2 billion in value and an avalanche of negative press. As Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” We underestimate the power of the court of public opinion to our detriment.

Gordon G. Andrew

Gordon G. Andrew

March 22, 2012 — 5:13 PM

The veracity of Mr. Smith’s opinion notwithstanding, is it ever appropriate for a publication as respected as The New York Times to provide a platform for one disgruntled employee? In publishing Mr. Smith’s description of Goldman’s shortcomings, the The New York Times supplied an inherent level of credibility to Mr. Smith’s accusations.

If The New York Times had been genuinely interested in giving its readers a balanced perspective, it would have provided Goldman Sachs with an equal editorial platform to present the firm’s response – ideally in the same issue and on the same page as Mr. Smith’s OpEd piece. Perhaps bush-wacking Goldman was part of the newspaper’s strategy…to generate buzz, or as you suggest, as payback for Goldman’s history of arrogance with the media.

In its decision to print Mr. Smith’s largely unsubstantiated viewpoint, The New York Times may have revealed more about its own integrity than that of Goldman Sachs.

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