Mr. Calame’s Dec. 31, 2006, column was a stern – and, for him, unusual – attack on a story in The Times Magazine that mischaracterized a Central American court ruling, and on the editors who have defended the story without further investigation, and on standards editor Craig Whitney, who is tersely quoted in the column saying that he is not yet ready to issue any correction. It was a far cry from his previous column, on Dec. 3, 2006: “Scoops, Impact or Glory: What Motivates Reporters?” (A: All of the above!) Or the one before that: “Breaking News: Can Times Quality Be Preserved Online?” (A: Probably!)
If the public-editor column is killed – not entirely likely, given Mr. Sulzberger’s devotion to it – what about the 1,400-word slot? Andrew Rosenthal, who takes over as editorial-page editor on Jan. 7, said that he was not aware a change was under consideration. “The executive editor hires the public editor,” said Mr. Rosenthal. “He tells us who it is.”
As Michelle Malkin put it,
It’s clear the New York Times can’t stand the heat. Their stonewalling on the El Salvador abortion story (subject of today’s column) is the final nail in the paper’s credibility coffin.
Michelle’s column, All the abortion lies fit to print, explains,
Although Sarah H. Smith, the magazine’s editorial manager, told me that relevant court documents are ‘normally’ reviewed, Mr. Hitt never checked the 7,600-word ruling in the Climaco case while preparing his story. And Mr. Hitt told me that no editor or fact checker ever asked him if he had checked the court document containing the panel’s decision.”
Obtaining the public document was as easy as requesting that a stringer for the Times in El Salvador walk into the court building without making any prior arrangements. Which is exactly what Calame did. It took the stringer mere minutes to get the court ruling.
The Anchoress quotes Hamlet in her post where she says,
Sometimes I observe how audaciously some in the media press their perspectives, even if it requires some distortion, and I get angry because the disrespect for public intelligence is so insulting. I feel a little like Hamlet facing his betraying friend, Guildenstern
(you’ll find the exact quote at her blog)