Arthur Brisbane left his job as the public editor of the New York Times this past week, deciding before leaving to double the degree of damage he has done to that institution -- and to the newspaper business itself, of which the Times is the unchallenged leader.
I have been a consistent reader of the print edition of the New York Times since I was 13 years old. That is why I am gratified to see the Times ombudsman, Arthur S. Brisbane, in his swan song column finally state the obvious.
The New York Times' Public Editor's newest work, "The View From The Critic's Seat," is a disappointment. While written with Brisbane's usual clarity, it sets up a premise and then utterly fails to address it.
After 23 years of subservience to the borough's powerful ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes announced the indictment of four men for attempting to silence an alleged victim of sexual abuse.
It is remarkably ironic that this old anti-Hibernian slur -- 'hooligan' -- is applied primarily to soccer fans, for accounts that I have read describe the advocates of Ireland's team to be the most cordial and well-behaved in Europe.
January has not been a good month for media ombudsmen, as the in-house press analysts at our two leading newspapers have both come under attack for writing lazy, ill-considered commentaries that seemed to confirm the views of their most strident critics.
Let January 12, 2012, be marked as the date when the New York Times confessed, in an oblique but nonetheless conclusive way, that it theretofore had not been terribly concerned with discerning and reporting the truth.
Though the overwhelmingly negative response to Brisbane was warranted, the episode itself illustrates the degree to which major political forces have already succeeded in bending the mainstream media to its will.
Today the New York Times asked for input on "whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about." The response among my peers has been fairly unanimous: Are you f-ing kidding me?
It is good that the New York Times has a "Public Editor" to keep an eye on the paper's ethics. But sometimes, it seems like valuable column space is wasted chastising Times staffers for minor missteps.