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Quis cusotdiet ipsos custodes?

Let nobody say I've never agreed with lefty blogger Atrios -- because I've finally spotted a post of us that I agree with. He highlights an amazing bit of arrogance illustrated by ombudsman Dan Okrent's latest column in the New York Times. Written for some reason as an imaginary interview with Okrent on his brief experience as ombudsman:

Q. So tell me, Dan. How are they treating you at The Times?

A. I'm glad you asked. It has been both better and worse than I expected - better because a lot of people here believe that The Times should be as open to examination as those The Times itself examines each day; their welcome has been generous and heartening. What's worse than I expected is the overt hostility from some of those who don't want me here.

Q. Is it aimed at you, or at the job?

A. Both. One reporter ripped me up and down about how offensive it was that the staff had to endure public second-guessing, how it makes reporters vulnerable to further attack, how the hovering presence of an ombudsman can hinder aggressive reporting.


Others have complained that as a former magazine writer and editor, I don't know anything about newspapers; as a non-Timesman, I don't appreciate how The Times is different from all other media institutions...

Sheesh. Okrent has barely written much of anything yet in his brief tenure as ombudsman; he certainly hasn't criticized anybody in any significant way. And yet the writers are "hostile" and "offended" at the mere possibility that they'll be asked to justify their actions? And then they wonder why there's such hostility towards their institution?


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Comments (1)


how the hovering presence of an ombudsman can hinder aggressive reporting.

I wonder what he means by aggressive reporting. Isn't that a euphemism for lying?


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