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The great pleasure of being a novelist is that you can praise your friends and carve up your enemies by changing a few names and details to protect the innocent and fend off the guilty and, at the same time, take advantage of First Amendment protections.

At least that was my thinking as I laughed my way through John Darnton’s fifth work of fiction, Black & White and Dead All Over.

This roman à clef comes to us in the same twisted spirit as the 1996 sensation, Primary Colors by “Anonymous,” who was later revealed to be Newsweek columnist Joe Klein.

Darnton is a 42-year New York Times veteran reporter, editor and foreign correspondent who was awarded two George Polk Awards for his coverage of Africa and Eastern Europe, and the Pulitzer Prize for his stories that were smuggled out of Poland during the period of martial law.

And I’m guessing fewer co-workers at the old Grey Lady are on speaking terms with him, thanks to Black & White.

You can LISTEN to this Mr. Media interview with novelist and NEW YORK TIMES veteran journalist JOHN DARNTON by clicking the audio player below!

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Copyright 2008 Bob Andelman. Click here for copyright permissions!