NYT ombudsman: Charles Blow was right to apologize for ‘magic underwear’ comment

Times Public Editor Athur Brisbane commends Op-Ed columnist Charles Blow for apologizing for his “magic underwear” comment directed at Mitt Romney during Wednesday’s presidential debate:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Brown/508342691 Tom Brown

    Why isn’t the Times calling him on his use of the “muddle mouth” label?  Sure, op-ed people have latitude, but the Times has always had a tradition of decorum. Shouldn’t those standards apply to social media, too? Tweet name-calling is pathetic. By the way, many other religions have various rules about clothing including undergarments. Check out Sikh kacchera underpants, Hindu Brahmin sacred strings, underwear rules of various Catholic monks and nuns, the tallit khatan undershirt of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, Muslim scarves, etc. etc.

  • Anonymous

    If he had mocked some Muslim custom, the Times would be groveling, sort of like Obama is with the Koran burning.

  • Anonymous

    well said SC……religion like all modern assocations of people is fair fame for criticsm sure, but in a polite way sure…..we should never give them a free pass…..write an opned on this for the times one tday this is good, WELL SAID BRAVO…re what you said above
     
    So why is criticism of religion wrong? Why again do we give it a pass?

  • Anonymous

    well said SC……religion like all modern assocations of people is fair fame for criticsm sure, but in a polite way sure…..we should never give them a free pass…..write an opned on this for the times one tday this is good, WELL SAID BRAVO…re what you said above
     
    So why is criticism of religion wrong? Why again do we give it a pass?

  • Anonymous

    jim, some religions are MORE evil than others, you know that! come on! re Zita David silly remark……so when SOME certain religions used to allow and bless slavery, long ago, then journalists in those days should NOT have insulted them for their bigotry re blacks? come on! yes, let’s not insult religious PEOPLE or their beliefs, but the org behind them is fair game, in my book. Most religions need some watchful eyes, no?

  • Anonymous

    Dear Dan, a media critic wrote me: re all this brouhaha

    Blow’s tweet did not …appear in the Times but I don’t think that it has to appear in the Times to be worth noting.

    *I replied to him
    yes, i agree with you, sir, …it IS interesting but i feel toomuch focus on twitter etc…….what matters what he writes in hisnewspaper, in his column, his work,  that is his journo beat…..twitter is not journalism…weare focuing too much on this silly platform…..what’s next?…? …..what he tells his wife in the shower?……but yes IT ISINTERESTING,,,,the Romney underwwear tweet  ,given the subject etc……SMILE..but still, let
    focus here on JOURNALISM no, unless this platform is now called POYBNTER TWTITTER… sigh

  • David Schwarz

    I condemn him because he IS a RELIGIOUS BIGOT!  He didn’t tweet before he thought about his words.  He (1)typed and then (2)sent.  That’s 2 separate actions taken AFTER his bigotry erupted these words into his head.

    Bigot.  Bigot.  Bigot.  ‘Nuff said.

  • Anonymous

    One thing i don’t get here: yes, Blow’s initial tweet was wrong, and his later apolo was nice, and OmBudMan tweet good too. but since when is all this news, Steve? it all happened on Twitter, not
    in the new york times print paper or internet site, so why this concern over tweets and twits? i don’t get it, being far away in Taiwan where i do not tweet never. Twitter is like talking in public at bar. and for my money, Mormonism is such a secret society with its underwear etc, it is good to bring these things out in public, Mormonism is not  a real religion, it is a cult. we need to face facts sometimes and stiop being so darn polite all the time, no? There are serious concerns about this cult. Blow was correct to tweet the first tweet, i loved it, but also correct to say sorry. stil, his point is valiod and still stands…airing their dirty launmdry in public is healthy for all relgiions.

  • Anonymous

    Apology? Allow me to give the so-called ombudsman of the NYT a brief explanation of the word “apology,” while at the same time marveling that someone who has attained that position at an internationally known newspaper would need to be reminded of the definition of the word. An apology is heartfelt. It is a sincere acknowledgement that you’ve said or done something that has hurt someone else or some class of people and you feel genuinely ashamed at having done so. Mr. Blow, I believe it is obvious, feels no such shame and this is certainly no apology. What it is is an act of contrition, forced upon him by his editors to lessen the impact of having made an incredibly stupid remark which reflects Mr. Blow’s disgust with the Morman religion. It is damage control. It is the way to extricate someone from a protected class of people from having to endure more than a slap on the wrist. Surely it was made clear to Mr. Blow that, “We don’t want to suspend or fire a black employe of your status because it would be extremely uncomfortable for us at the NYT to have to endure criticism from officials of black political action organizations. But you must do something. You don’t have to apologize. Just say you regret it and that it was inappropriate and we can move on.” I know it’s quite trendy to complain that, “well, if this was a white man saying something about (fill in your protected class of people), he would have been sacked immediately. But, trendy or not, it IS true. And what is equally disturbing is to read the remarks from this ombudsman, who is virtually tripping over himself congratulating Mr. Blow for his carefully scripted (ahem) apology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JimEvansIV Jim Evans

    What is not surprising is that if a prominent person makes an attack on some other group  or person the penalty (or lack of penalty) is directly proportional to how politically correct that group or person is perceived.  Some have been fired in the same day.  Others just get applause roughly the same comment but applied to a group not perceived as being politically correct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Cooper/1663845657 Sarah Cooper

    It’s good to know the NY Times thinks free speech ends when it comes to discussing religion?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Cooper/1663845657 Sarah Cooper

    So why is criticism of religion wrong? Why again do we give it a pass?

  • Anonymous

    That’s not an apology. It’s a “mistakes were made.” 

  • Anonymous

    hmmm…the apology is nice, but i doubt that he’d have a job if he made a racially insensitive remark (e.g. “chink in the armor”). 
    the larger point, that escapes blow, is that we have a huge problem in this country with single, undereducated, unemployed young people having children. you can’t make that (obvious) point in this day and age without some single parent jumping up and yelling “my kids are great.” 
    well, i’m sure they are. but that doesn’t change the fact that we have a problem here. the problem is most apparent and most serious in the african american community, a community in which more than 70 percent of the children grow up without fathers.
    we don’t and won’t discuss this issue honestly because everyone is afraid of being labeled a racist and because people like Blow refuse to see the bigger picture. 

  • Anonymous

    William Faulkner (in The Reivers): “No gentleman ever referred to anyone by their race or religion.”