Sunday, August 14, 2005

This is why I go weeks without posting

In today’s NY Times Public Editor column, Byron Calame proves that for the right money, anyone can be compelled to ignore the big honkin’ conflict of interest sitting in the middle of the room. First, he tells us how the Times responded to the problems created by staffer Jayson Blair with the obvious solution, i.e., to start vetting freelancers and stringers more carefully (whaaa...no panel on blogger ethics?).

Then he modestly tells us about the time he single-handedly preserved the paper’s integrity by outing that most evil of journalisming menaces, the Nefarious Freelancer with an Agenda:

When I did a couple of basic Web searches, I quickly discovered that the freelancer had been publicly involved in advocacy efforts on AIDS issues at Housing Works. I brought this to the attention of the assigning editor and Allan M. Siegal, the standards editor, on Tuesday. The next day, Mr. Siegal decided the article would not be published. Doing a personal post-mortem in an e-mail message to me, the assigning editor suggested she should have learned more about Housing Works so she could have provided the standards editor with "enough information for him to make a careful decision."

Bravo, Barney! Then he goes on to reassure us that "The Times does not ordinarily allow its writers to cover events in which they have taken part, and the paper's staff and contributors are not permitted to join rallies or demonstrations on divisive issues. " And then, just to show us that he also has a sense of humor, he notes


...I can't avoid the conclusion that it's unlikely The Times will ever be able to give freelancers the same oversight it gives staffers.
We can only hope that Judith “Queen of all Iraq Cellblock B” Miller gets her copy of today’s paper in a timely fashion. It’s sure to make her dark, solitary and oh-so-principled vigil a little easier to endure.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which is the greater illusion: progress in Iraq, or the "paper of record?" And which illusion is declared brain dead first?

8:43 AM  

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