Parody: New York Times Ethics Manual

March 6th, 2012

One can find the real ethics manual HERE

Our ethics professor at NYU asked us to write a paper concerning ethics and the NYT’s approach. This is what I wrote.


When not working, staff members must remain in a cardboard box.

Staff members may not poke breathing holes in the box. If staff members believe breathing holes are required for performance of reporting, staff members should consult the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor.

The box is always to remain beside the staff member’s desk.

Staff members may not enjoy peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, as this may be regarded as “cozy” with peanut butter and whole-wheat distributors, and a negative bias toward distributors of ham, fish, chicken, roast beef and white bread.

Staff members may not eat a taco or a burrito if said taco or burrito is likely to figure in coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise. Inversely, The Times encourages staff members to eat soft pretzels, but not hot dogs.

Notably, The Times prefers staff members to eat The Times.

The only sandwiches The Times sanctions for the purposes of nourishment are cardboard sandwiches (two pieces of cardboard with another piece of cardboard in the middle). Staff members may NOT construct sandwiches from the box The Times has provided them. The box is for employee storage during off duty hours, not for cardboard sandwiches. Consumption of cardboard sandwiches both reflect and maintain the irreproachable impartiality of The Times.

If a staff member’s spouse, brother, father, sister, mother or dog breaks wind at a socially inopportune moment, the staff member will immediately notify his or her department head and the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor. Inopportune toots reflect poorly on The Times.

Staff members must give up all ideologies. Staff members must not believe in God. Staff members may only believe in the irreproachable impartiality of The Times. Staff members must know that ‘walking on water’ and ‘mutually exclusive news and advertising departments’ are two examples of miracles, or impossibilities. Nonetheless, as the disciple recognizes Jesus, so too must staff members recognize The Times.

Staff members must hereby abstain from sex. Staff members must not have sexual organs. Staff members must turn testicles and ovaries over to the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor, unless testicles and ovaries are required in particular to coverage of an event. If staff members are unsure whether their testicles and/or ovaries are essential to coverage of an event, they should consult the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor.

Staff members must not ever disclose their skin pigmentation. Staff members must not verbally condone any particular pigmentation of the skin. Staff members must leave The Times property wearing flame retardant scuba suits and one-way reflective goggles. The three aforementioned procedures cover up a staff member’s race or bias toward a race, and thusly uphold and maintain the irreproachable impartiality of The Times.

Staff members may not help geriatric ladies beyond the types of geriatric ladies described in paragraph 70. Same goes for retard people – paragraph 70.

Staff members should seek approval of proposed conversational topics from their department heads prior to partaking in any conversation with a family member outside of The Times staff.

If not speaking to a family member, staff members cannot speak, unless conducting interviews or setting up interviews. Other than the three aforementioned activities, staff members are not allowed to use any words other than the words they arrange underneath bylines.

Words themselves are tools bound by relativity, therefore usage of words more often than not reflects some kind of bias, and detracts from the irreproachable impartiality of The Times, which is itself a construction of words, words constructed in a solely objective fashion: The Times’ irreproachable impartiality.

If staff members do not understand the last sentence, it’s because it doesn’t make sense, consult the standards editor or the deputy editorial page editor. Staff members should not regard The Times as paranoid and/or convoluted in its efforts at self-preservation and protection.

OpEd Columnists and Opinion writers can do whatever the hell they want, but they just have to be careful in what venue they exercise their Times given right to do whatever the hell they want.

Staff members belong to The Times, but The Times’s good name does not belong to them. Upon death, prior to giving their souls to The Lord, staff members should allow The Times an opportunity to put forth a competitive bid.

Staff members will be buried in a cardboard box.

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