I had heard of the more positive rule, as related by Jeff, although not in terms of being on the front page of the NYTs. I more or less internalized it as "try your best not to be slimy."
What hit me in this exchange is how much Marie is right about how a rule that, as Jeff says, provides a nice ethical guideline -- don't do it -- has morphed into something that is exactly the opposite -- do it (or say it) as long as you can avoid responsibility. I also must smile at the delight I would have taken at informing my shouting colleague that he was just a tad off on the rule and that since he is an adherent he should be happy to follow the official version.
In any case, if it comes up again I will refer to my version as the "converse NYTs rule."