Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Evidence of Times Fairness!

I check just about every day the cobweb-covered "web journal" of the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. So you can imagine my surprise to check in today to see an item, backdated to "5:38 EDT Nov. 8," that confirms what we knew all along: the New York Times is a fair newspaper.

The backdating is no surprise, I've noted that before, and neither is the Empty Suit's habit of ignoring massive evidence of bias and carefully picking trivial issues that make the Times editors appear fair, even-handed and balanced.

In his "Nov. 8" item, the Suit addresses a burning issue that is on everybody's tongue. You know, the Times's coverage of Alzheimer's Disease. Damn! That man is good. Every time I walk into a room, somebody says to me, "gee, what do you think of the Times's coverage of Alzheimer's Disease? Don't you think it is contrary to established journalistic ethics?"

Well, the Suit brushed off the cobwebs of his web journal to address this issue, one that of course is much more important than whether the Times has knuckled under to the left in the Judy Miller fiasco or is fair in covering Supreme Court nominees or burnished Arafat's reputation.

He did so by duplicating an exchange of emails between a reader and the reporter involved, Randy Kennedy. The dialogue that transpired was much more important than the exchange of emails that I wrote about a few weeks ago on the Times Middle East coverage. You know, the one that contained an admission that the Times made a mistake -- one that it has no intention of correcting.

Important? Not to Barney.

After all, you can't expect the Empty Suit to discuss an exchange of reader correspondence on an important issue that proves bias. That will never do -- not when you can pick correspondence on a minor issue that proves fairness.

The exchange in Barney's web journal went something like this:

Were phony names used in the article on Alzheimer's?

No, they were not.

Did sick people knowingly give consent to be quoted?

You bet.

The exchange, Barney concluded, "indicates to me that the article was approached with appropriate care and thoughtfulness." Of course it did! After all, would we be hearing about it if it didn't?

So rest easy, dear reader. The Times is fair, the Times is just. You have Barney Calame's personal assurance on that -- and you can bet your divan that he isn't losing any sleep over the actual bias that has destroyed the reputation of this once-great newspaper.