The outgoing public editor for the New York Times, wrote a final column Saturday that has already garnered comment from the paper's executive editor.
First thing's first, here's what Arthur Brisbane observed in "Success and Risk as The Times Transforms":
When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.
As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.
"[A] kind of political and cultural progressivism...virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times."
Indeed it does.
Not surprisingly, executive editor Jill Abramson doesn't agree. Politico reported Saturday:
"In our newsroom we are always conscious that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of the country or world. I disagree with Mr. Brisbane's sweeping conclusions," Abramson told POLITICO Saturday night.
"I agree with another past public editor, Dan Okrent, and my predecessor as executive editor, Bill Keller, that in covering some social and cultural issues, the Times sometimes reflects its urban and cosmopolitan base," she continued. "But I also often quote, including in talks with Mr. Brisbane, another executive editor, Abe Rosenthal, who wanted to be remembered for keeping 'the paper straight.' That's essential."
I guess Abramson forgot that about a year ago, she practically admitted the Times' liberal slant.
Why should one expect consistency from an executive editor?