New York Times CEO appears to be brushing off Ben Smith while announcing newspaper acquisition of The Athletic

The New York Times boss appears to have done a subtle dig at exiting newspaper columnist Ben Smith in a press release about his major acquisition of sports media giant The Athletic.

The New York Times Company announced on Thursday that it was buying the popular sports subscription website for $ 550 million, gaining more than one million point-of-sale subscribers. The deal is expected to be finalized in March.

However, NYT CEO Meredith Kopit Levien released a specially worded statement announcing the company’s takeover of The Athletic.

Meredith Kopit Levien, CEO of the New York Times Company. (Photo by Rachel Murray / Getty Images for MAKERS)
(Rachel Murray / Getty Images)

“The acquisition of The Athletic allows us to be a global leader in sports journalism and to offer English speakers around the world yet another reason to look to The Times Company for their daily news and life needs. “Levien said. “The Times already provides distinctive sports coverage for general interest audiences as part of our main report. As a stand-alone product, The Athletic will allow us to offer much more – extensive coverage for fans looking to connect. deep understanding and understanding of their favorite teams, leagues and players. “

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“With one of the largest dedicated teams of journalists covering sports in the world and a commitment to daily reporting, The Athletic is a great addition to The Times,” added Levien.

The statement caught the attention of Smith, who responded with a pair of emoji eyes.

It appears Smith echoed the language Levien used in his statement that was similar to his own when he offered farewell words to The Times on Tuesday.

“There are 200 million people who are university educated, read in English, but no one really treats like an audience, but talk to each other and talk to us,” Ben Smith told The Times. “This is what we see as our audience.”

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Moreover, the Times itself reported that Smith was preparing to launch a “global information startup”.

The Times did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment when asked if Levien’s statement was meant to be a search of Smith.

Smith, who was previously editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News before joining The Times in 2020, has teamed up with Justin Smith – no relationship – who is also stepping down as CEO of Bloomberg Media.

Details of his new business venture are currently vague, but Ben Smith told The Times that he and Justin Smith “plan to create a global newsroom that will report the news and experiment with new storytelling formats.”

Smith then tweeted, “I’m so excited about this.”

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During his two-year tenure at The Times, Smith’s weekly media-centric columns were the subject of frequent social media buzz on Sunday nights.

Smith made headlines in September and October 2021 for his reporting on the controversies plaguing Ozy Media, a media and entertainment company co-founded by former MSNBC presenter Carlos Watson, revealing financial instability and exaggerated audience statistics that were used to research investors.

Ben Smith.  (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Ben Smith. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
((Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images))

Smith also shocked the media landscape with his criticism of Ronan Farrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York journalist for his reporting on the #MeToo allegations against Harvey Weinstein, claiming that Farrow frequently relied on a “Plot” to shape his work.

“His stories are built and sold on his belief – which he rarely proves – that powerful forces and people conspire against those who try to do good, especially Mr. Farrow himself,” Smith wrote in May 2020.

However, Smith’s biggest splash in the national news cycle came during his tenure as BuzzFeed News chief when he oversaw the publication of the infamous Steele Brief in 2017.

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The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, circulated among intelligence officials at the time and was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign in the 2016 election, fueling a tale of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Smith defended the decision during an appearance on Fox News in 2018.

“The dossier is a document of obvious central public importance,” Smith told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “It is the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. It was clear a year ago. It is much clearer now.”

Ben Smith (Photo by Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images)

Ben Smith (Photo by Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images)
((Photo by Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images))

Many of the findings in the case were largely debunked by a report released by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

A recent indictment in the ongoing Durham investigation has further eroded the credibility of the Steele case, as its main sub-source, Russian national Igor Danchenko, has been accused of lying to the FBI.

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The file was reportedly passed on to other news outlets towards the end of the 2016 election, but it was not until it was reported that then-President-elect Trump was briefed by the director of the FBI of the time, James Comey, of the existence of the record which he became widely known to the public. He was also instrumental in enforcing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Brian Flood of Fox News contributed to this report.

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