NYT Public Editor ‘Circles the Wagons’ Against Public

Posting to the Columbia Journalism Review‘s Behind the News blog, Megan Garber (5/26/09) catches New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt espousing “a peculiar brand of institutional defensiveness” in his May 23 column:

One that plays itself out via divisiveness–and via, in particular, a false dichotomy that aggrandizes Times reporters and dismisses those who are not. In particular, those nagging, nattering bloggers. (Outsiders! Pouncers! Rougher-uppers!) And he does so right in his lede: There are those “within” the Times, “trying to protect the paper’s integrity”â┚¬Ã‚¦and then there are those “outside” it, “ready to pounce on transgressions by Times journalists.”

Garber contention that “such thinking represents all too well the protective, entitled, wagon-circling attitude that so many people resent about the Times–and about mainstream journalism more generally”–even comes after choosing to “leave aside the fact that Hoyt‘s column vastly underplays the transgressions in question within it”:

MoDowdâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s, in particular. (After a quick, he-said/she-said summary of the scandal, Hoyt declares: “I do not think Dowd plagiarized, but I also do not think what she did was right…. If the words are not hers, she must give credit.” And then he moves on.)

For the record, even Dowd herself admits having lifted lines wholesale from Talking Points Memo blogger Josh Marshall.