Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Empty Suit Joins the Roberts PR Offensive

A Flack Earning His Pay

The New York Times Public Editor, Barney Calame, continues in his role as public relations spokesman for Times management today, as he dusts off his cobweb-covered "weblog" to post (again, backdated) a note from the Times executive editor concerning Times reporters probing Judge Roberts' adoptions.

As usual, Calame has no opinion--they don't call him the Empty Suit for nothing. However, readers who do have opinions note that the Times is slip-sliding past the essential point, which is that the paper is doing dirty work for opponents of the Supreme Court nominee. What possible value could such info have? So he adopted kids. So what?

Again, an important question and one that the Empty Suit doesn't address.

I note also that the letter published by the Empty Suit is a cleaned-up version of the letter that was actually sent to readers. Here is what the Empty Suit prints:

"I appreciate your concern at the notion that The Times would launch an investigation of Judge Roberts's children, that the paper would retain lawyers to break sealed adoption records, that it would contemplate publishing sensitive personal material about such a private matter. If any of that were true, it would be truly creepy. But like so much of the nonsense Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, and some of the more irresponsible pundits on Fox News spread about The Times, it is not true."

And here is what a reader actually received in an email, as posted a few days ago in the comments section at the bottom of this item:

"As is often the case, the original 'source' of this 'story,' the Drudge Report is wrong, overwrought and a gross misrepresentation of what has happened. Fox, of course, jumped on the 'story,' putting their own spin on it."

Note that Barney cleaned up the language to omit the arrogant tone, the scare quotes around "story" and the attacks on Drudge and Fox. Just a flack earning his pay!

Tomorrow Barney is supposed to be arising off the divan and resume his actual column. I'll stop in to see how he does! Then back to my divan I go.

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