Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Sensitive, Caring New York Times

Calame: Lays it on thick

The Empty Suit, New York Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame, worked very hard this week to achieve his biweekly goal, which is to make the Times appear in a good light. So, in lieu of any number of valid and recent subjects, he reaches back to Kurt Eichenwald's Dec. 19 story on a kiddie-porn purveyor -- one of the only major stories appearing in the Times in which there has been no valid complaint or cries of outrage.

In other words, he devoted a column to one of the few Times stories not warranting the attention of an ombudsman (the purpose of which, presumably, is to deal with stories and situations that have generated reader outrage).

Hey, they don't call him a parody of a public editor for nothing!

Barney could have written about one of the literally dozens of Times coverage atrocities that are detailed in TimesWatch and other blogs. He could have written about how the Times systematically skews its coverage of Bush Administration and Iraq. He could have written about a subject I've hammered away at -- the Times's biased and inaccurate coverage of the Middle East (the last few day's installments are here, here, here and here).

He could have written about the Times's offensive use of bland terminology to whitewash Palestinian terror groups. Only today, in a Week in Review piece by Steven Erlanger, the Times said that the murder gang Hamas engages in "armed struggle" -- typical of the inaccurate, biased terminology the Times uses whenever it writes about Palestinian terrorism.

But if Calame wrote about anything like that, he wouldn't be doing his job -- which is to shill for management. The Eichenwald story was a good and uncontroversial story, so he's all over it like a cheap suit (or perhaps I should say, "cheap empty suit").

Our Times flack lays it on thick, in a piece that reads like something from the "Times Talk" house organ:

"One of the most important articles The Times has published in recent months". . . . "The Times made a vital contribution to reader understanding of the balancing process". . . . "I found that special care and consultation had gone into the balancing process". . . . "an article prepared ethically 'in the broadest possible sense,' to use Mr. Ingrassia's words". . . . "Editors were also sensitive" . . . "Readers were well served by the special care that the reporters and editors at a newspaper with The Times's resources could devote to balancing the humanitarian and journalistic values involved in producing this sensitive and poignant article."

Barney did everything but break down in cry out of the sheer joy of being associated with such journalistic heros.

Another week, another useless column by a man who has turned the theoretically worthwhile function of newspaper ombudsman into a joke. Michelle Malkin put it best: "The NY Times ombudsman is totally worthless."


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