I just received a standard-form email from Joe Plambeck in the Office of the Public Editor at the New York Times in response to my email questioning the lack of coverage by the Old Gray Lady on the Air America scandal. It directed me to Byron Calame’s web journal “addressing” the paper’s
coverage lack of coverage.
Calame at least acknowledges up front the contrast between its interest in Air America failing and its interest in promoting Air America’s startup.
The Times’s recent slowness stands in contrast to its flurry of articles about Air America in the spring of 2004, when the network was launched.
But then the article admits reporting that within 2 month… TWO MONTHS… of opening its doors, Air America was dying on the vine, only to be saved by a mysterious influx of cash. That coverage included mentioning Evan Cohen’s sudden departure.
But then Calame injects this:
So the future of the radio network seems to be a key question for The Times to answer.
Why? Why not just investigate the possible unethical and criminal acts, the potential coverups and present the facts? Why does Calame feel it’s the NY Times’ job to speculate on the future of the radio network? (Especially considering the “future” of the network was pretty clear when it ran out of money in its first 8 weeks)
Then Calame blames it all on a Gorelick Wall-esque policy
While it’s no excuse for such a belated response to the brewing scandal, it’s true that pieces of the unfolding story fell in the domains of three different parts of the newsroom: the metropolitan desk, the business desk and the culture desk. There was, my inquiries suggest, a lack of coordination and awareness of what the paper’s competitors across town were writing.
A lack of coordination between “agencies”? Sound familiar? The obvious ridiculousness of this defense is summed up in one reader’s email to the NY Times:
“If a conservative radio network had been started with money improperly ‘borrowed’ from a charity like a boys and girls club, it would be front page news for weeks in your paper. Once more, your left-wing bias is showing.”
Calame accuses “right wing bloggers” of creating the bias appearance. While it may not necessarily be an insidious plot to help bury the story, there is certainly bias in what the editors of the paper deem “newsworthy” enough to go dumpster diving for compared to stories like this one where they take a “wait and see” approach.