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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Is It Time for Right Critics to Give The New York Times a Break? Has TCD Gone Completely Bonkers?

It's very early in the morning yet my email is already beginning to back up with messages - some supportive, but most expressing some combination of puzzlement, disbelief and/or outrage over my suggestion that it is time for media critics on the Right to give The New York Times top editor a break.

The suggestion comes in my Townhall.com column this week and it is simply some further reflection on the significance of Bill Keller's lenthy response to the updating of the Credibility Committee report, about which I've blogged in this space before. You can read the whole Townhall.com column here. And here is the most recent TCD posting on the topic.

The main point of the Townhall.com column is this:

"So how should long-suffering critics of the Times react to Keller’s words and actions? Much of the commentary on the Right side of the Blogosphere has been rather predictably negative, snarky or sarcastic, or some combination thereof. I believe that approach is mistaken.
"How about instead we offer Keller encouragement and praise for ‘fessing up’ to serious problems of longstanding and for putting his own career and prestige on the line in making the effort to deal with those problems in a systematic and reasonable way?
"It wouldn’t hurt, either, for Times critics on the Right to show some patience because changing an entrenched culture like that of a newsroom isn’t going to happen overnight, nor will it occur without some unexpectedly abbreviated careers and a surplus of discontent bred by an inability or refusal to change."

I know, I know, the Times is guilty of much, most recently of a bizarre curiosity about the circumstances surrounding Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adoption of two children. But let's not forget that the greatest sinners often make for the most dramatic testimonies about salvation. I think there is great hope that Bill Keller is going to make a big difference in the way the nation's newspaper of record goes about its very important daily business.