Reaction was swift and passionate to Public Editor Arthur Brisbane’s blog post about whether The New York Times should be a “truth vigilante.” Here are the 5 most interesting comments you may have missed:
James Fallows, The Atlantic: “I think Brisbane deserves credit rather than ridicule for raising this question. … Every reflex teaches journalists that the only ‘fair’ approach is to neutrally report ‘both sides’ — and to resist ever saying, ‘for the record, one side is just making things up.’ Thus we have the false equivalence problem.”
Glenn Greenwald, Salon: “Literally every day, one finds major news stories that consist of little more than the uncritical conveying of official claims, often protected by journalists not only from critical scrutiny but — thanks to the shield of anonymity they subserviently extend — from all forms of accountability.”
Ben Howe, Red State: “The lefties on Twitter are very upset with their favorite paper, The New York Times. … These folks are actually upset that the newsroom isn’t inserting their opinion enough. And it looks like the Times is interested in hearing out their complaint.”
Jack Shafer, Reuters: “The ombudsman exists primarily to take in the face whatever rotten fruit, bean balls and shards of broken glass that angry readers want to heave at the editors and reporters who produce the newspaper. The ombudsman is a safety valve that prevents reader fury from exploding, a way for the newspaper to say ‘we listen.’ And today, as the gashes on his face prove, Brisbane is earning his pay.”
Clay Shirky, the Guardian: Brisbane’s question makes perfect sense, considered from the newsroom’s perspective. … he is evidently so steeped in newsroom culture that he does not understand – literally, does not understand, as we know from his subsequent clarifications – that this is not a hard question at all, considered from the readers’ perspective.