NYT Ombudsman Wakes up and Smells the Air America Scandal

August 18th, 2005 3:10 PM

Surprise: Barney Calame wakes up and smells the scandal at the left-wing radio network.

Yes, the Times ombudsman and loyal company man (who to date has made his predecessor Daniel Okrent look like a profile in courage) finally finds something to criticize his paper about in his latest web journal entry: The paper's almost nonexistent Air America coverage.

Calame admits: "Readers of The Times were poorly served by the paper's slowness to cover official investigations into questionable financial transactions involving Air America, the liberal radio network. The Times's first article on the investigations finally appeared last Friday after weeks of articles by other newspapers in New York and elsewhere. The Times's recent slowness stands in contrast to its flurry of articles about Air America in the spring of 2004, when the network was launched."

Calame makes the same points on double-standards in coverage that conservatives have made: "Yet The Times was silent as other publications reported that city and state investigators were looking into whether the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx had made improper loans of as much as $875,000 to Air America."

In this case, Calame is actually fulfilling his role as a reader advocate, not merely defending the paper while acting insulted by criticism. But will his Air America concerns show up in his biweekly column in the dead-tree version of the paper?

Read the rest of the newly caffeinated Calame.