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Hey, I hired a security guard to make sure I don't steal from you

Yes, I think it is safe to say that the New York Times' experiment with a "public editor" has officially failed. "OK, our top tech columnist has a glaring, obvious conflict of interest, and that conflict is now the only conceivable explanation for an otherwise patently insincere and misleading review, but we can't possibly correct the situation; doing so would 'deprive' the readers of his 'expertise'."

Excuse me, Clark Hoyt, but are you literally, physically dickless? If reporters don't need close scrutiny to ensure their personal interests don't influence their "expertise", then what the hell do we need a "public editor" for at all? The premise of your job is that conflicts of interests cause harm and ought to be avoided! Readers don't need a "public editor" to tell them they shouldn't question David Pogue's integrity because he's a nice, talented, funny guy! That's the side of the argument opposite the one you are supposed to be representing!

Once again, Cosh's Law of Newspaper Ombudsmen holds true: we are supposed to believe they exist to defend the interests of the reader against those of the newspaper, but their actual job is precisely the opposite.


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Colby Cosh writes: Once again, Cosh’s Law of Newspaper Ombudsmen holds true: we are supposed to believe they exist to defend the interests of the reader against those of the newspaper, but their actual job is precisely the opposite. Just as the a... [Read More]

Comments (20)

Did you ever imagine, when you first got into this "business", that you'd ever _have_ to write that second paragraph?

To, like, a "professional journalist"...?

"Dear astronaut, not sure if you're clear on this, but you're supposed to be floating around in space and so forth. It's kind of your job..."


To think you were linked by Instapundit for this post instead of the AC/DC ticket offer below. Some people miss out on all the really interesting stuff.


I think it's a tempest in a teapot. But I love the irony in the "solution" to the conflict of interest problem: reveal that there is a book written by Pogue on the same topic the article covers. In other words, free advertising for Pogue's books within his articles - a much clearer conflict of interest than existed before - an incentive to write as many articles which overlap with his books, because each will contain a free ad for his books.

Gregory Koster:

Dear Mr. Cosh: Nope. The premise of your argument is that the TIMES is in business to "report the news without fear or favor." But you need only look at the TIMES's non-coverage of, say, Van Jones, or John Edwards and Rielle Hunter, to realize that the TIMES thinks its readers are rubes, to be crammed full of the bunkum of the day. Given that, where's the conflict of interest for Pogue? He's only doing what the TIMES is doing, on a smaller scale. No conflict of interest. The public is to be fooled and fleeced. That's Pogue's interest, that's the TIMES's interest.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster


I found the major thrust of the article less worrisome than the throw-away graf at the end: the article on Walter Cronkite that was full of errors was not an obituary, but an "appraisal". Oh, well, in that case, all right, never mind.

Manon D:

I sent Hoyt an e-mail message concerning several opinion articles that the NYT had published as front page news stories and received an instant reply meant for someone in the Public Editor's office. The advice was to *tell her * that we do not represent the reader and added that they had received a number of complaints about the same articles.
My response that I had mistakenly believed the Public editor represents the reader prompted an immediate apology for sending me a message meant for someone else and assuring me that of course the PE represents the reader. Of course, he does.


I think the first sign of trouble is when the Ombudsman had to outsource the decision about conflict of interest to three 'ethicists'. As Colby says, if you can't pull the trigger on a clear cut case of conflict of interest, what are you there for?

I wonder if the obvious has been observed by anyone at that tired old rag. Your question about Hoyt, priceless. Thanks.


Didn't the Times just bounce Ben Stein's financial column for a supposed conflict of interest because he does commercials for a credit/ID theft firm?

I don't see much of a difference here.


Linking to Fake Steve in order to make a serious point? Really?


I don't think it is a big deal. He is a writer about technology in books and articles. I just don't see the big deal. It is not like he is covering something up - use a pen name or ghost writer. If he is getting paid by Apple or anyone else to write and does not disclose it I suppose I might have an issue.

Am I am on that finds the NYT disgusting almost all the time.

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]:

> Linking to Fake Steve in order to
> make a serious point? Really?

Worked, didnit?

There's nothing deceptive going on. Fake Steve Jobs has announced his real identity, hasn't he? He's a Silicon Valley figure of some reputation, using the name as a sales marque. Whe you go to seven-11, you don't expect to find seven or eleven of anything in particular, you just "seriously" expect to buy a quart of milk and a pack of Luckies. There's a burger chain called Rocket's in California where nothing ever lifts off, but the customers are fat and happy.

The Times' editorial page also holds very different views on the legitimacy of filibusters, depending on which party controls Congress:



I don't get the apple polisher's comments here. A guy gets paid by apple to do stuff, he also gets paid by a newspaper to supposedly offer impartial reviews of products made by apple or in competition with apple. He makes an obvious odious misrepresentation of a flawed product and that's OK?
Brett - linking to a critic is not in and of itself a bad thing. Are you implying that my only source of news for the liberal party is the Tor Star group, and the Nat Post can't be trusted to provide facts about the libs, dippers or bloc?


Greg, Apple does not pay for his books.

Frankly, the mere fact that this guy writes those sorts of computer instructional books that are sold by the inch makes him untrustworthy no matter who he writes for.


Pogue? This is fireable. The NYT should get rid of him, once and for all.


"Yes, Your Honor. This man has no dick."


Oh, Pogue is bought and paid for. And Fake Steve is among the best tech journalists in the business. He's banned from CNBC because he accused an Apple fanboy "journalist" of getting punked in the Jobs illness scandal. (Jobs, as the key individual at Apple, cannot hide behind privacy as a reason not to disclose info about his health. If he wants to remain private, he can quit).

Pogue's Snow Leopard review was a disgrace. And I say this as someone who owns only Apple IT equipment.

Jeffersonian, Ben Stein was fired about TWO YEARS two late. The guy is completely useless. Check Felix Salmon on him http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/07/ben-stein-finally-expelled-from-ny-times/

In fact, the Ben Stein should be a unit of time to describe the time over which someone remains in a job past the time when it's obvious to all that he should be fired. So Kevin Lowe remained Oilers GM for half a Ben Stein.

the post which you have published which gives an information about new york securtiy....i need you to publish some more post as like this


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