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Monday, January 02, 2006

NY Times Slammed by Self

I've mentioned in the past that I'm pretty happy with Byron Calame, the public editor/ombudsman for the New York Times. After his January 1st write up, I'm even more fond of him. He slams his paper for the one year delay in the "Spygate" story, and their refusal to answer to the readers why the delay, and why the release was timed as it was.

Both the executive editor and publisher refused to answer questions for him on the reason for the delay and in his words, "They held out no hope for a fuller explanation in the future." I can understand part of it, especially now that DOJ is getting involved, they may well be worried about their legal problems more than reader questions.

He looks at a number of plausible reasons for the article's 1 year delay in publishing, and the staff's refusal to discuss the issues with him. Included for possible reasons were legal issues (which they have more of now), national security, and protection of sources. I'll say if #3 is the reason, at least they are staying the course on that principle, even after the Judy Miller fiasco.

Calame also goes after them for the timing of the article. This was related to both the 2004 elections, since they said they'd been sitting on it for a year, and the release of James Risen's book on the subject, which has been pushed up from March to January 3rd. I don't think he's convinced that the story release wasn't affected by the book, since he states the Washington Bureau cheif for the Times talked to the publisher a number of times.

Byron did a great job on this piece, and lets the readers know he's not happy with the lack of cooperation from the paper, their own shoddy work in explaining aspects of the story, and managements decisions on speaking about it. He's still holding his list of questions, and wrote that he would try again to get them answered.

I wonder how many more of these he's going to be able to write, slamming his boss, before management decides they need a public editor more in tune with their needs.

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Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Exactly, how many more of these does he get to write before he becomes a Bernard Goldberg?

12:22 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

Just popping in to wish you Happy New Year!!

and I hope the politicians give you plenty to chew on....
I say that because it's an easy thing to come true. They can't help themselves.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

LMC, he's been beating on them since he got there, so I'm not sure. His first target in the job was Krugman, which made a lot of folks on the right happy.

Michele, nice to see you again, and as you can see by the Schumer post, even over the holidays they stick their feet in their mouths often enough to keep me busy.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

Great post! It's too bad that you can't take anything the msm says as legit because everything is played for politics.

4:16 PM  

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