That must be part of their interview training process. When interviewing, if you don't get the desired answers try to argue with them instead of just getting the facts and then report nothing. When they finaly find someone with the desired answer, that is reported as the unanimous concensus. It appears to me that the reporter was simply proving the point about their lack of honest reporting.
I'd go a little bit farther in the analysis, LvM; especially with the Jayson Blair story to back it up...
If the NY Times doesn't get what they want in an interview, they just make something up!
Jayson Blair just took that modus operandi to its obvious next step, he simply dropped the "middle man," the subject of an article, the interviewee, and just plain wrote what he wanted the story to be.
"NY Times - All the news that's printed to fit (our agenda)."
"NY Times - Your newspaper with a record (of lies).