NY Times reaches a new low (updated)

Back at the time of the William Kennedy Smith rape trial in Florida, in the 1990s, the NY Times had published the name of the alleged rape victim after the local New York WNBC television station aired it. Later, at the trial, the then-head of the National Enquirer was entering the court building when journalists asked him if he would be also publishing the name of the alleged rape victim.
In answering in the negative, an incredible role reversal occurred. The National Enquirer publisher lifted his nose and sneered, "Who do you think we are? The New York Times?"
This month, Noel Sheppard's Newsbusters

"On July 12, the New York Times claimed Sarah Palin's hair was thinning, and used it as evidence that the Alaska governor was not handling the stress of office well:
Friends worried that she appeared anxious and underweight. Her hair had thinned to the point where she needed emergency help from her hairdresser and close friend, Jessica Steele."

Gov. Palin's hairdresser has denied the charges, Newsbusters goes on to say.
Even my own low opinion of the New York Times has been lowered. They have now become Maureen Dowd Meets The Weekly World News.
What Rush Limbaugh has referred to as "The Chickification of the News" is in full oeuvre here. The New York Times is now publishing a gossip opinion about Gov. Palin's hair - with no medical evidence to back up their catty remark. Did their reporters overhear this in the lunchroom of an exclusive Manhattan private girls' school? Or was it written on a bathroom wall? 
The Times is obviously clearly afraid of Sarah Palin. But who thought that they would sound like a girls' lunchroom clique IN PRINT, documenting their fear for all the world to see? Perhaps the two authors of this Times article, Jim Rutenberg and Serge F. Kovaleski, could take some lessons from the Alaskan Governor on how to comport themselves.

Update: Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times writes:

I noticed that you reported on Ms. Steele's commentary on our reportage. You might be interested to see our response. It would show that the very same hairdresser wrote one of the members of our reporting team one week ago to compliment the article, calling it "perfect."

Our formal comment read: "Kim Severson, the reporter who interviewed Jessica Steele at some length in her salon for the article, received an e-mail from her early on July 13 saying, 'Thank you so much for the article!! It was perfect!'
Regards, Jim
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