« Matthew Yglesias on Infopolitics | Main | The Logical Structure of the Geneva Conventions »

June 02, 2005

As the Sun Sets on Daniel Okrent Day...

This is perhaps the most bizarre thing of all. As Mr. Spock would say, fascinating...

Did Daniel Okrent really say that David Cay Johnston is the leader of a lynch mob?

Did Daniel Okrent really say that he hoped that by the end of his stint as "Public Editor" everyone would know that the New York Times does not deserve to be called the newspaper of record?

Did Daniel Okrent really read 40,000 words--200 pica courier pages--written by Luskin?

Did Daniel Okrent really say that Don Luskin is better looking than Paul Krugman?

A correspondent directs us here:

Donald Luskin on Daniel Okrent and Paul Krugman on NRO Financial: New York Times "pubic editor" [sic] Daniel Okrent.... I've met with him and corresponded with him... 40,000 words.... Yes, I'm the one Okrent was talking about when he referred to "Krugman's enemies."... [W]hy didn't Okrent go further with his critique? And why, as the self-described "readers' representative," did he feel it was necessary at the same time to take a gratuitous swipe at me--one of his readers?...

[A] fear of reprisal.... Okrent wasn't always afraid.... When I first met him in early 2004 he was full of the burning zeal of the reformer, and eager for intellectual allies. His first words to me were, "You're much better looking than Paul Krugman." He told me that the Times didn't deserve to be called the "newspaper of record" and vowed, "When I'm done with this assignment, I want everyone to know that."... I knew it wouldn't last.... I wondered how long Okrent could maintain his independence... the glittery social world of Times management.... Times staff fought Okrent.... David Cay Johnston... organize[d] other reporters into what Okrent called a "lynch mob"....

the Times's campaign coverage... Okrent... asking, "Is The Times systematically biased toward either candidate? No."... What, you are no doubt wondering, could Okrent possibly have been thinking?... the Times's coverage of the presidential campaign... self-evidently biased toward John Kerry to the point of self-parody.... hundreds of e-mails from the Angry Left....

Okrent had not only succumbed to the pressure from the Left, he had cracked under it. Here we had the "readers' representative" using the mighty power of the New York Times to lash out at one of its own readers... calling him a "coward"... quoting him... in defiance of his pleading not to be quoted....

So, Okrent ends his 18-month[s]... a broken man, having turned against the readers he was supposed to represent...

Posted by DeLong at June 2, 2005 11:58 AM