Friday, May 04, 2007

Credit Where Credit is Due

Back in January, I read a piece on Radar Online (!) about the contrasting fortunes of pundits and reporters who weighed in on the Iraqi incursion before its start. The results of the survey, as written up by Jebidiah Reed are, quite frankly, disheartening: those that were pro-war and predicted easy success were richly rewarded and continue to thrive, while those that dared to raise questions or predict trouble have been marginalized. It is a trend that sadly seems to have continued mostly unabated through four-plus years of bloody and brutal failure. . .

Until yesterday.

Regular consumers of my spleen know that I have a healthy portion reserved for the establishment media, their indiscriminant noblesse oblige inside the beltway, their unwarranted hostility to new media, and their regular inability to grasp just how terribly wrong things have gone in the last six years. So, let me step up and take note, extend a laurel and hardy handshake, and congratulate the most established of the establishment, the “gray lady,” “the paper of record”—The New York Times got this one right.

Recently, there were rumors that the position of Public Editor at the Times would disappear when the tenure of current PE Byron “Barney” Calame ended later this month. Instead, Times’ Executive Editor Bill Keller announced Thursday that starting May 14, Clark Hoyt will take over as the Times’ new Public Editor. In Keller’s words:

Clark has spent 38 years with Knight Ridder newspapers as a reporter, editor and executive. As a reporter, he shared a Pulitzer, and as an editor he earned a reputation as a reporter's editor. Until the sale of Knight Ridder last year, he was, for seven years, the Knight Ridder Washington Editor. In that role he presided over a body of aggressive reporting in the runup to the war in Iraq -- journalism that has been widely praised for sometimes being more skeptical about the pre-war intelligence than bigger news organizations, including our own.

That’s right, Hoyt, as Washington Editor for Knight Ridder, presided over some of the only establishment reportage that doubted Bush Administration claims of Saddam-al Qaeda connections and smoking guns in forms resembling cremini cumulous. As recently featured in a Bill Moyers documentary for PBS, Knight Ridder’s work lays waste to the protestations of so many that they had little choice but to support the Iraqi expedition back in 2002-03 because all of the information available at the time was so convincing.

Hoyt wasn’t convinced, and now his skepticism has been rewarded. And I might actually start looking forward to reading the Public Editor column again. That’s two plusses, and here are three cheers for the gray lady: hip hip hooray.

(h/t Think Progress)

(cross-posted from guy2k)

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