Followup question, please

In today’s Times, public editor Byron Calame interviews standards editor Allan Siegal and comes up with an answer that demands a follow-up question:

By the charter that my job was given when it was set up, I have the guaranteed right to go not just to the executive editor with any misgivings I have, but directly to the publisher. On one occasion, when I thought that there was too much opinion seeping into the news pages, I went to both of them simultaneously.

And just what occasion was that?

Also, Siegal reacts to the blogs:

Q. How have reader expectations about the paper’s standards changed over the past few years?

A. It’s a very hard question to answer because with the blogs out there drumming up opposition to the “mainstream media,” and with the Bush administration and some of its most fervent supporters drumming up contempt for the news media – for the Eastern liberal news media, so called – it’s very hard to tell which expressions of reader sentiment are genuine….

Oh, I’d say that if someone took the effort to write what they thought, it’s genuine. And this:

Q. What have been the most important changes in the standards editor’s job?

A. The big one that I’ve mentioned is the degree of scrutiny and our awareness of the scrutiny from the blogs, and the degree of expectation on the outside that we must be doing something wrong and we’re not to be trusted. So we have to explain ourselves and prove we mean well, and in ways that we once probably wouldn’t have had to.

I’d say you always should have, whether you had to or not.

  • Andy Freeman

    > So we have to explain ourselves and prove we mean well,

    “prove we mean well”? Someone ought to tell the lad that “he meant well” is not a compliment.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Could that Times article have been any more insipid?

    Two editors with fluff marketing titles, “public” and “standards” contrive a conversation that is supposed to convince readers of some renewed journalistic integrity.

    Color me unconvinced. I still see the same stripes on that blasted zebra.

  • owl 1

    Yup, he is talking about me and my thousand emails of contempt. Guilty.

    You treat half the country with contempt, it comes back. When we hear with our own ears (the BOO/AP), see with our own eyes (some of us remember typewriters) watch the media shape their own clubs (I give you Mother & Abu Ghraib) and then participate in total silences (Swifties, Air America), you get contempt. Oh, did I mention that we are also accused of being so dumb we do not know the difference between news and editorials? Wonder why.

    Or you get ignored. Much too little, much too late. I like to vote my politicians into power, thank you.

  • penny

    The big one that I’ve mentioned is the degree of scrutiny and our awareness of the scrutiny from the blogs, and the degree of expectation on the outside that we must be doing something wrong and we’re not to be trusted. So we have to explain ourselves and prove we mean well, and in ways that we once probably wouldn’t have had to.

    Hilarious. From the folks that employ Dowd, Krugman and Rich – three of the most fact challenged idiots of supreme journalistic hyperbole and bias.

    “we’re not to be trusted” ………Yes, blogs are closing in on you, poor thing. Like Rome grasping Luther, it must be a nightmare at your editor’s meetings. The horror of the common folk challenging the dogma and the priestly caste.

    How rapidly the Berlin Wall went down(thanks to Reagan)….. and the NYT’s aghast at the history they scorned again.

  • Truth Hurts

    >Also, Siegal reacts to the blogs:

    Who says he is talking about blogs? He might be talking to the Right-Wing Noise Machine (Talk Radio, Fox News, the mouth breathing freepers)…not everything is about BLOGS just because you want it to be.

  • http://ruthcalvo Ruth

    “Oh, I’d say that if someone took the effort to write what they thought, it’s genuine. ”

    Jeff, a lot of written comments are generated by issues lobbies, many giving exact wording for the comments. I believe the authors here are used to getting innumerable identical opinion letters, emails etc.

  • E.F. Stoner

    There is no bigger blowhard, or toe-the-company line at the NYT than Barney. For anyone to expect anything other than the “circle the wagons” and bloviate loudly approach is kidding themselves.

    HOW DARE YOU PUNY HUMANS QUESTION THE MIGHTY AUTHORITY THAT IS THE NEW YORK TIMES????

  • Bruce Allardice

    According to federal election records, Byron Calame’s wife Kathryn, a professor of microbiology, made at least 2 contributions of $250 to the Kerry for President Campaign in 2004. Just do a search at http://www.opensecrets.org. Can we expect fairness to Republicans from someone with such partisan affiliations?

  • Bruce Allardice

    On Mr. Calame’s “personal information” posting at the NY Times website, he admits he was a registered Democrat in NYC until receiving this public editor appointment.

  • http://bittersanity.blogspot.com jaed

    Sure, we can expect fairness from a registered Democrat and whose wife donates to Democratic candidates. Having opinions doesn’t preclude fairness. (If it did we’d be in trouble. I have yet to meet the person, much less the journalist, with no opinions.)

    Expecting fairness from someone with (judging by his choice of words) an apparent persecution complex… now that may be too much to ask.

  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    When the Times set up a section on AOL ages ago (probably more than a decade), I posted in their forum complaining about how poor the online version was. I think I also briefly mentioned that it seemed the Times
    was running more and more corrections (and I think I pointed out a copy editing error).

    I got an email from Siegal (which I wish I still had but it was baiscally) saying they were aware of the problem. That the computer systems (which had many problems) had allowed deadlines to be pushed later and later and more errors slipped though.