Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New York Times Hacked?*

I just got an email from the New York Times, telling me they were sorry I had cancelled my subscription.  That is pretty funny, because I don't even have a subscription.  I get my endless 20 free articles a month by simply cleaning out my browser cache every time my quota runs out.  So at first I thought they had outed me as a cookie cleaning kook and were demanding payment.  After all, the Gray Lady is in a big financial hole.  She just sold a bunch of regional papers out from under the poor slobs who worked for them, and froze the pensions of foreign correspondents at the same time the CEO is leaving with a multimillion-dollar buyout.  Reporters and other staffers are apparently getting ready to storm the office of Publisher Pinch Sulzberger. You can read their open letter here.

Well, it seems that The Times email database of commenters and subscribers has been hacked, and that the emails about subscriptions are pure bogus spam. Or maybe even an inside job from a disgruntled past or present Times worker bee. No word yet if the hacktivist group Anonymous is behind the spoof, although this is the week they had vowed to hack websites of various and sundry oligarchs.  Here's the "Times" email:

Dear Home Delivery Subscriber, Our records indicate that you recently requested to cancel your home delivery subscription. Please keep in mind when your delivery service ends, you will no longer have unlimited access to and our NYTimes apps.
We do hope you’ll reconsider.
As a valued Times reader we invite you to continue your current subscription at an exclusive rate of 50% off for 16 weeks. This is a limited-time offer and will no longer be valid once your current subscription ends.*
Continue your subscription and you’ll keep your free, unlimited digital access, a benefit available only for our home delivery subscribers. You’ll receive unlimited access to on any device, full access to our smartphone and iPad® apps, plus you can now share your unlimited access with a family member.†
To continue your subscription call 1-877-698-0025 and mention code 38H9H (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.D.T.).
Here's more.  The frantic Tweets of panic-stricken Times people are hilarious. And the Times Media Decoder section is running a front-page item online. It's a slow news week matched by a slow response from the newspaper. Here is my favorite reader comment, from Dawn of Princeton:
As a home delivery subscriber who received that e-mail I would like the Times to promptly let me and others know how this happened and most important if our personal information, such as credit card information on file for automated monthly payments, has been compromised. The fact that the Times has responded so slowly to this makes me want to actually cancel my subscription.

* Update, 4:30 pm: The Times now says a disgruntled worker sent out the mass email to 8 million people.  No spam, no hack, no credit card info stolen, no problem.  Martin Weiss of Mexico, MO ain't buying it: 
Keep moving. There's nothing to see here. Fatherland Security was just checking addresses of intellectuals and leftists. (Don't mention the news blackout on Obama signing the NDAA which eliminates the need for jury trials, allows the Army to hold Americans suspected of supporting insurgencies incommunicado indefinitely, and funds internment camps with a capacity of two million.) After all, NY Times staff are above the law and needn't worry about the hoi polloi. Just because the Argentine Junta disappeared over twenty thousand professors, journalists and labor leaders doesn't mean a right-wing fascist coup is in progress here. We don't need the Posse Comitatus or the Bill of Rights anymore, anyway, as government has become an impediment to profits. Are your papers in order?

Bravo, Martin!


James F Traynor said...

Received the same email. "Dawn of Princeton's" comment has me worried. The Gray Lady seems to be in trouble.

Denis Neville said...

With the apparent success of The New York Times’ paywall more papers are announcing their own online pay plans.

Clay Shirky says paywalls create “newsletter economics.”

Writing about the Times of London and Sunday Times paywalls:

“Here's what worries me about the paywall. When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they're critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn't want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times.”

"If you are going to produce news that can't be shared outside a particular community, you will want to recruit and retain a community that doesn't care whether any given piece of news spreads, which means tightly interconnected readerships become the ideal ones."

A paywall, Shirky argues, forces the publisher to ‘re-engineer’ its content for a different audience, part of a process he calls ‘newsletter economics’.

“All the News That's Fit to Sell,” not “All The News That's Fit to Print,"

Anne Lavoie said...

I received the same email and have never subscribed to the NYT, so I knew it was bogus.

Hooray for Martin Weiss not passing up a chance to remind everyone of the 'NATIONAL DETENTION AND ASSASSINATION ACT'!

Isn't it amazing that only a few brief months after Occupiers point out to the world that corporations own and run our government, this very same corporate government decides to designate the entire country a war zone and gives the President power to wage war on American citizens who are merely suspected of supporting some ill defined enemy of the corporate state. And we know how closely the government and corporations adhere to the letter of any law anyway!

So why now? Why did they act to create these extraordinary and unconstitutional powers?

Here is what we all know is likely to occur come Spring. In order to make their point, millions of Occupiers will engage in civil disobedience to get arrested. Anticipating that likelihood, how does the government plan to respond? Pepper spray? Truncheons? Tear gas? Sure, sure, sure. But arrests? Hmmmm. They now have the trump card. NDAA to the rescue!

No filled jails. No clogged courts. No backlog of cases. No lack of public defenders to handle cases. No need to even bother with the justice system at all in the event of a national uprising. We all know that anyone who threatens the economy, aka corporations, is a terrorist. Even the money spent on policing small,peaceful Occupy encampments is already being used to demand crackdowns.

These 'terrorist' Occupiers can be fast-tracked straight from the street to secret private prisons (where maybe they can work off their bill for detention with slave labor?) They can be simply whisked off the street by our very own military, or the CIA, or whoever the President selects to do the dirty deed.

How forward thinking of the goons in Washington to militarize our law enforcement agencies and designate our entire country a battlefield. If they hadn't, they wouldn't have the legal foundation to suspend our rights for the duration of their endless and lucrative War on Terror.

Their corporate owners must be so proud of their quick and partisan action. They wouldn't want the economy to be disrupted, at least not unless it brings some profit to them, such as in private prisons, drones, surveillance and security systems, etc.

And yes, I am relentlessly harping on this everywhere I can, not just in NYT but in local online newspapers all over the country. I'm NEVER letting this one go, so if I disappear, you'll know why!

Occupy Comments Everywhere!

Zee said...


If Homeland Security is sweeping up "intellectuals and leftists," I guess they will bag at least one conservative, too.

Like Karen, I don't have a paid subscription, but regularly clear my browser.

Look for me in the internment camp!

Suzan said...


Conservative? Let's see how you explain this "conservative" action when they round you up and send you off to the Halliburton/Xe prison system.

It's all been planned so minutely that you'd have to think it was an umbrella plan all along wouldn't you?

Take a look back at the 1997 PNAC schemes. It's all foretold there.

Lovely little bunch of "Federalist" conservatives, what?


Zee said...


I think that you misunderstood my remark, which was dashed off in haste. That’s never a good idea for a Conservative treading in Progressive territory.

My comment was intended as a gesture of solidarity with Progressives relative to the remark by Martin Weiss which was quoted by Ms. Garcia in her original post.

Even a Conservative can read the New York Times, and if that’s the mark of an intellectual or leftist, well, I would certainly be swept up by Homeland Security too. And I would consider myself in generally good company in the internment camp, if it ever comes to that.

I was most certainly NOT laughing at Progressives who, like me, are very worried about the continued erosion of civil rights in this country. I share your concerns, so I’m a member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But I’m also a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not a stereotypical Republican or Neo-Con, something that I hope you will discover if I am allowed to continue posting on Sardonicky.

I had to Google “PNAC” to find out who/what it was. I read the lengthy article on Project for the New American Century in Wikipedia, and I can assure you that these are people with whom I would NOT care to be associated.

That said, perhaps it’s time to stop before I risk digging myself into an even deeper hole by “over-explaining.”

Anne Lavoie said...


I don't know anything about PNAC, but I do know what Empires do, especially those own and run by a corporate cabal of defense contractors.

They don't fly by the seat of their pants. They have long range strategies. Just because we have only recently realized that they own and run our government doesn't mean that hasn't been going on a long time before our eyes were opened.

Just look at how long Lockheed Martin has been at it, ever since they sold warplanes to Hitler, working both sides of the equation for profit. The corporate empire they have built since then has insinuated itself into nearly every branch and agency of government.

From one of the best NYT articles I have ever read from almost 8 years ago:

'LOCKHEED MARTIN doesn't run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it.

Over the last decade, Lockheed, the nation's largest military contractor, has built a formidable information-technology empire that now stretches from the Pentagon to the post office. It sorts your mail and totals your taxes. It cuts Social Security checks and counts the United States census. It runs space flights and monitors air traffic. To make all that happen, Lockheed writes more computer code than Microsoft.'

A lot more has occurred in the ensuing 8 years, you can be sure of that. To read the entire 2004 article, go to

Marina said...

Karen, thanks for running the Times' Guild letter. That was really, really interesting...and without you, I never would have known about it.

DreamsAmelia said...

I'm glad you're here, and even if I never join the NRA, you may end up looking even smarter than the average non-violent leftist--After all, if we're fleeing the countryside to escape the NDAA camps(where to? Mexico is already a war zone, with dubious escape possibilities to Canada...), on second thought, I think I would prefer to travel under the protection of someone such as you, who presumably has a rifle and knows how to use it.

The point of disagreement I have with Anne is that I don't see "millions" of occupiers come Spring--I see the same dangerous trickle as now, which makes them all too easy to disappear with the NDAA.

Why so small? Because we are a country of sprawl. The wage inequality means increasing numbers of people are spending half their lives on roads to commute to "cheaper" houses built on farmland--farmers who cashed out, rather than continue to grow just to stay afloat. Those houses are "cheap" now because they have no surrounding infrastructure--once the tax base becomes established, public transportation and amenities will start, and they'll be the new ex-urbs--and the next outlying ring of farmers will sell out, until the entire U.S. is a consumer/service/real-estate driven economy, devoid of farming or manufacturing. Mass famine might intervene before every speck of the U.S. becomes a strip mall, but at this rate, a heck of a lot of farmland can be developed before mass famine sets in.

I just took a trip from D.C. to the Shenandoah National Park yesterday, and I can see the trend and the devastation in all too crystalline form, based on what just happened in my lifetime, in the past 30 years. The more people there are, the faster we double, and the faster all the land gets devoured by development, at the shor-sighted expense of the farmers, who are grateful to retire on $10 million, rather than continue to slave away (who can blame them?).

The whacko defense companies who thrive on legislative coups like the NDAA will have their work done for them by mother nature, but, unfortunately for them, She spares no one.

So good to be back home to all your great posts and links, Karen!

Valerie said...


Your comment is chilling and mirrors my own fears for the Occupy Movement - and all of us who would dare to voice an opinion critical of the powers that be.

I am distressed to say we are fast moving into an oligarchical dictatorship and we have Obama to thank for it - the constitutional lawyer who knew exactly what he was doing. Talk about a wolf in sheep's clothing.