On the one hand, we have James Taranto’s approach to acknowledging errors (discussed below). On the other hand, we have the New York Times’s “never give an inch” approach, documented in Byron Calame’s extremely interesting Times column this morning: “Even Geraldo deserves a break.”
Calame unfortuntely mixes in additional personal abuse of Geraldo Rivera in documenting the Times’s malfeasance — illustrating why I prefer a simple acknowledgement of wrongoing when you’re wrong. The Times is wrong. Why it can’t say so is beyond me. Why Calame has to compound the offense to Rivera with Calame’s personal abuse of Rivera is also beyond me.
Calame’s discussion of the Rivera matter concludes on a note that is also of interest to us:
Meanwhile, in the opinion section of The Times, the corrections policy of Gail Collins, the editor of the editorial page, is not being fully enforced. As I have written on my Web journal, Paul Krugman has not been required to correct, in the paper, recent acknowledged factual errors in his column about the 2000 election in Florida.
The Times has long been a trailblazer in its commitment to correcting errors. This is no time to let those standards slip – even when well-known critics and columnists are involved.
Calame writes in his capacity as the Times ombudsman. I think his column today is notable and even courageous. Michelle Malkin, however, recently declared the New York Times ombudsman “totally worthless.” On my own scale, the measure of worthlessness in ombudsmen is set by the Star Tribune’s Kate Parry. With Parry at absolute zero, Calame seems to me to occupy a spot well north of worthless. Bruce Kesler reflected on Michelle’s post at Democracy Project in “The ombudsman hoax.” (Thanks to Lucianne and RealClearPolitics for the tip to Calame’s column.)