Sunday, November 13, 2005

Return (Again and Again and Again....) of the Empty Column

Barney's Divan

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a Public Editor) Barney Calame, snoozed softly on his divan today, as he ran a column of letters from readers for the sixth time since his tenure as "public editor" began six months ago. (Or to put it more accurately, since his tenure as a "parody of a public editor" and "management shill" began six months ago.)

At one letters column a month, that is a much higher ratio than was practiced by his predecessor, Daniel Okrent. As I pointed out the first time the Empty Suit resorted to this patented time-filling technique--after a grand total of three columns:

"Every biased and inept journalist loves reader letters. They are a thousand times better than the Public Editor roasting your tootsies. That's why the distant rumble you heard this morning was from Times editors breathing a sigh of relief. They're off the hook for another week."

Of course, when I wrote those words, it was not abundantly evident, as it is now, that the Empty Suit was going to be quite the joke that he has turned out to be. Calame is not in the tootsie-roasting business, except for rare exceptions like Times pariah Judith Miller.

Speaking of Miller, today the Suit used another time-tested technique -- running a letter from a disgruntled subject of a personal attack, when the person (Miller) deserved a correction.

UPDATE: Gawker wonders aloud, "Maybe we misunderstood the job, but isn’t the public editor supposed to be more interested in ethics fuckups within the Times than, say, we are?"

You misunderstood the job, grasshopper. Go to the dictionary and look up management shill.