The critique was vigorous, brilliantly written and informed by a deep hostility toward the press, said Anthony Lewis, the author of "Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment" and a former columnist for The New York Times. "It's quite an astonishing document," Mr. Lewis said of the critique. "He's not a fan of the press. He speaks of 'the zeal and insouciance with which the mass media assails public officials.' " The Sullivan decision, the memorandum said, overstated the social value of the press. "Any assumption that media coverage of government institutions and public officials is the centerpiece of effective democracy," Mr. Roberts wrote, "is misplaced."
There's just one problem; Roberts didn't write it. Bruce Fein, a Washington lawyer wrote the memo. Oops. On a brighter note, for Bruce Fein, the New York Times said he writes brilliantly. How could something like this happen?
Three people quoted in the article discussed the Fein memorandum, provided to them by a reporter, on the assumption that it had been written by Judge Roberts.
And we all know that the New York Times is a major player in the assuming game. .