UD’s favorite paper thought it’d be a great idea to have Ezra Merkin’s sister write about the Madoff/Merkin scandal, and his sister thought so too.

I mean, this would be fun all around: Daphne Merkin could use the paper’s editorial pages to try to exonerate her brother, the NYT could boast of its proximity to high-society banditry, and NYT readers could satisfy their obscene curiosity as to how the sister of one of the major financial malefactors of our time feels about her brother … Sort of like Shot in the Heart for rich people…

But now the paper’s public editor thinks maybe there were some problems in the plan:

Times readers who realized the connection protested that the newspaper had given Ezra Merkin’s sister a platform to make what they saw as a veiled defense of his conduct without coming clean about the depth of his involvement.

“Her column attempts to put some of the blame on the investors, but the people who invested with her brother knew nothing about Madoff,” said Jane Isay of Manhattan. “Daphne Merkin is a good writer, but readers might consider her ideas more analytically if they knew who her brother actually is, and what he has actually done.”

Daphne Merkin is a very good writer, able to mix it up quite splendidly. NYT readers as a result really need to be on their toes. The paper’s not going to help them.

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Update: America’s most high-profile synagogue continues to be run by Merkin and Ira Rennert, a most godly pair.

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