Sunday, June 05, 2005

My Letter to New NYTimes Public Editor Byron Calame

The NYTimes has a new Public Editor who used his first column to introduce himself with a pledge of greater transparency and accountability. It inspired the following letter.

Dear Mr. Calame:

Welcome to the New York Times and congratulations on your new position. Your opening column was inspiring and cause for hope. You made it seem like you want to be held accountable for your work. I can think of only one relevant way for me to judge your performance. My view is that in repeatedly failing to cover major stories getting significant attention around the world and on the Internet, The Times has migrated from the so-called reality-based community into the land of advocacy journalism. Readers are told what to think is real, not necessarily what is real.

If you are going to represent the readers, you will have to approach your new job like a whistleblower, pre-cleared for immunity and acting with impunity. Here are the two most important things you could address:

--Why should election results be accepted as legitimate when the elections are conducted under conditions which ensure inconclusive outcomes? Please see the Voter Confidence Resolution which is targeted for City Councils and already scheduled for a vote in Arcata, CA on July 6.

--Why do so many unanswered questions about 9/11 remain unasked? Please see:

As the reader's representative, the only way I can judge your performance and hold you accountable is by how much myth-busting you do to bring the Times either to the reality-based community or obsolescence. Welcome to the peaceful revolution, Mr. Calame, and congratulations again on your new position. I look forward to working with you.

In Respect and Peace,



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