Public editors, or ombudsmen if you like, never teeming to begin with, are becoming even rarer.
Recently the Star‘s public editor, Derek Donovan, went on a six month hiatus. At this announcement Donovan and I had a brief tête-à-tête in the comments section of the newspaper. My position was that public editors served both readers and their papers far better, as well as improved public trust, by taking an adversarial stance toward their papers, rather than defending the paper per se.
Donovan’s mild response was that the public editor at the Star was not structured that way. 1
I suppose, given Donovan’s bread is thinly buttered by the Star, that’s a not unexpected, if disappointing, response. However it pales in comparison to NYT public editor Liz Spayd’s recent naval gazing:
WHAT’S happening at The Times isn’t only about The Times. It’s part of a fracturing media environment that reflects a fractured country. That in turn leads liberals and conservatives toward separate news sources. A Pew Research Center survey two years ago found that liberals are flocking to The Times, with 65 percent of its readers possessing political values that were left of center.
Does that mean The Times should write off conservatives and make a hard play for the left and perhaps center left? I hope that question is not on the table. It would change everything about what the paper is and the force of its journalism.
Imagine what would be missed by journalists who felt no pressing need to see the world through others’ eyes. Imagine the stories they might miss, like the groundswell of isolation that propelled a candidate like Donald Trump to his party’s nomination. Imagine a country where the greatest, most powerful newsroom in the free world was viewed not as a voice that speaks to all but as one that has taken sides.
Or has that already happened?
This is at the tail end of an article where Spayd examined, and refuted, the “librul only” charge often held against the paper. Moreover it’s useful to weigh statements like “Imagine the stories they might miss, like the groundswell of isolation that propelled a candidate like Donald Trump to his party’s nomination” against their necessary origins: The fact that reporters found the Trump phenomenon as an irrational behavior that NEEDED explaining.
It seems these days much of the right-leaning conservative public believes that every news organ, to include the Star, needs to present all news with the ‘fair and unbiased’ clarity of Fox News.
The rest of us believe public editors need to forcefully make the distinction between news and opinion rather than waffling about with the both-siderism that muddles public thinking.
Meanwhile, over in Too Much Time on Their Hands Land, we get this:
Alerting all parents! Nickelodeon Kid’s Network plans to feature a family with two dads in the animated show “The Loud House.” The series, which centers around the life of Lincoln Loud and his ten sisters, will be the first Nickelodeon show in history to feature a married same-sex couple. The gay couple will make their debut on Wednesday, July 20, at 5:00 p.m. ET/ 4:00 p.m. CT during the episode “Overnight Success.” The married gay couple is revealed while dropping off their child Clyde at the Loud residence for a slumber party.
Yes, that’s right: Something called One Million Moms is calling for a boycott of a cartoon because one of the child cartoon characters will have gay cartoon parents.
You can’t make this fuckin’ shit up… 2
Trae Crowder on the just past RNC clusterfuck in Cleveland:
Filed this one under Teh Stoopid Runs Downhill. One of the largest newspapers along Mexico’s border with Texas is calling for a border wall.
The editorial board of El Mañana, one of the largest newspapers in the border state of Tamaulipas, penned a piece called “Yes to the Border Wall … but in Mexico’s South.” The piece praises the idea of a border wall, not on the border with Mexico, but on the border with Central America.
So Mexico also has an illegal immigration issue, and like the US, a portion of the populace has opted for Trump’s scare-mongering tactics, with the paper referring to the problem as “the new invasion”.
Seems like Trump’s infecting even things he just talks about…
- For your edification, the generally agreed upon definition of a public editor: “The job of the public editor is to supervise the implementation of proper journalism ethics at a newspaper, and to identify and examine critical errors or omissions, and to act as a liaison to the public.” ↩
- I suspect that some Millennial barista/app-coder could retire on the billions of dollars earned from an app allowing One Million Moms to throw cartoon bricks at cartoons they don’t approve of on teh TV. ↩