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New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane Defends 'Truth Vigilante' Column (VIDEO)

First Posted: 01/23/2012 11:20 am Updated: 01/23/2012 11:20 am

New York Times' public editor Arthur Brisbane appeared on "Reliable Sources" to defend his controversial column asking whether the paper "should be a truth vigilante."

The blog post, published earlier in January, had asked whether "reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about." Brisbane drew swift condemnation from the public and other members of the press, who accused him of appearing to question a basic function of the media,

Speaking to Howard Kurtz on Saturday, Brisbane called the negative public reaction "very strange" and "one that I was not expecting." He also maintained that his original inquiry raised an important issue. "Of course the New York Times should check facts and claims by politicians, but it was a question of degree," he said.

In a follow-up to his original post, he clarified his concerns about inserting counterclaims to sources in news articles. "You come across as a combatant in the political fray when that's really not the role for the straight news reporter," he explained on Saturday.

"Ubiquitous argument in daily news coverage, I think, risks creating the appearance of fighting with your newsmakers and your sources," he said. See his defense in the clip above.

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Filed by Katherine Fung  |