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December 23, 2011
Does The NY Times Know What Time It Is?
Mr. Arthur Brisbane
New York Times
Dear Mr. Brisbane:
I am not surprised that the Times would be resentful that a large, prosperous, and profitable company, Banco Santander (one of Spain's two largest banking organizations) should choose to remit part of its profits to its owners, that is, shareholders.
Nor am I much surprised that your reporter, Landon Thomas, Jr, would allow that viewpoint to permeate the article under his byline which begins very prominently on the first page of today's Business Section.
What I do find unacceptable is that he colors that viewpoint an outright misstatement of fact right up in the third graf:
"Planning to pay...2011 dividends"? Mr. Brisbane, the bank finished paying its 2011 quarterly dividends in early November, for which the ex-dividend date was October 12. Why did your editors -- if there are any -- allow such a claim, easily checked in the public record, to proceed to print?
Dividends paid out in 2011 were authorized many months ago and are clearly not still in a planning stage -- unless Mr. Thomas has some inside information about a surprise bonus payout still to occur in the final week of this year.
Promulgating untrue information about a major NYSE-listed corporation can have a serious effect on share price and investment decisions by your reading public. The Times owes an immediate correction note to its readers and an explanation from your office of how these lies get into print.
Richard N. Weltz
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