Mediacrity

The NYT‘s ombudsman comes to the commonsense view that the fun innuendo in the McCain story was a distraction from the underlying story of his zeal on behalf of lobbyists. (via).

Apparently, they were eager to run this story because they were afraid of being scooped.  That seems like a terrible decision.  The Times and Post are light years ahead of everyone else in terms of reputation.  The upside of being able to brag that they got any one story first sure seems to be outweighed by the downside of rushing a crappy, poorly substantiated story like this one.

The Times is cruising on a reputation it earned, or at least had, twenty or more years ago.  After Wen Ho Lee, Whitewater, and Judy Miller, the paper’s reputation for accuracy has declined.  Plus, there’s also no constituency out there consistently defending the paper.  With Maureen Dowd, William Kristol, and Thomas Friedman on its op-ed pages, it has pushed away any liberals who once felt a reflexive inclination to defend it.  Conservatives, for their part, will never let up in the media front in their larger War on Fact.  It’s hard to see how the Times is working to reverse its drift into mediocrity.

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