Sunday, January 29, 2006

Barney Gives Up

I'm a little saddened to have to write this, folks, but in the column today by Barney Calame, the Times's "reader representative," we see a man who is thoroughly beaten down by his job. He has given up.

In the past I've used all kind of uncomplimentary terminology to refer to Barney -- such as the Empty Suit or, borrowing a phrase from the American Thinker, "public relations editor" -- but I won't today. It's not necessary. With his column on how space is divided up among departments, which reads as if it were written by an intern for the Times Talk house organ, Barney has abandoned all pretense of being a newspaper ombudsman. His column today pretty well shouts out, "Hey, look at me! I am an Empty Suit."

I won't even bother to list all the topics of genuine concern to readers that Calame hasn't addressed in his column, and won't address, not even to give his customary "everything is fine" conclusion. But at least, were he to do that, he would be filling a rational management function, as spokesman and shill. His column today makes no sense at all.

The Sulzbergers might as well abolish the job -- it is becoming that ridiculous.


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