Ed Driscoll

"The Obama Scandals Bring A New Era Of Opacity At The New York Times"

As James Taranto writes in the latest edition of “Best of the Web Today”:

On Sept. 10, we wrote (with respect to the Van Jones story) that we thought Hoyt would write something along the lines of: “The Times was a beat behind on this story. To some readers, this suggests liberal bias. I see no evidence of this.” We added: “We’ll buy Times public editor Clark Hoyt a drink if he doesn’t say something to that effect when he weighs in on the Jones story.”

But he didn’t say he doesn’t think the problem was liberal bias. In fact, given Hoyt’s history of pooh-poohing liberal bias in his own voice, we’d say he pointedly did not say so in this case. He said Jill Abramson (who, as co-author of “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,” doesn’t have a liberally biased bone in his body–ha ha) didn’t think the problem was liberal bias. This is a huge difference.

Clark, we owe you a drink. Just email us to collect.

Here, though, is the most priceless bit of the Hoyt column:

[Abramson] and Bill Keller, the executive editor, said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies. Keller declined to identify the editor, saying he wanted to spare that person “a bombardment of e-mails and excoriation in the blogosphere.”

The Obama administration, as we noted Wednesday, was supposed to usher in a new era of transparency in government, Instead we find ourselves in a new era of opacity, not only in government but in the media. The New York Times now employs secret agent editors.

In a triumph of understatement, Clay Waters of Newsbusters adds, “Public Editor Admits NY Times Slow on ACORN — Not First Conservative Media Story NYT’s Ignored.”

Related: Ann Althouse asks, “Is it wrong for me to wait too long before writing about what the NYT public editor has written about why the NYT took so long to write about the ACORN story?”