Media Blog

Missing Paragraph Update

Wondering about the snideness excised from Maureen Dowd’s column, I wrote the “Public Editor” to see if he could find out what happened. The reply:

Hi Kevin,
Thank you for writing. Mr. Hoyt can’t speak for the Times so you should go to Catherine Mathis, The Times Spokesperson. She can be reached at  […].
Sincerely,

Michael McElroy

Office of the Public Editor

The New York Times
Note:  The public editor’s opinions are his own and do not represent those of The New York Times.

It seems to me that your thinking ombudsman might be curious, on behalf of his readers, whether a political campaign leaned on a columnist or newspaper management to erase an unflattering (if characteristically vapid) remark from the column of a celebrity columnist. Mr. Hoyt apparently is not curious.
Love the bureaucratese in the e-mail, too: capital-T The Times capital-S Spokesperson. Presumably, Catherine Mathis is a spokeswoman, but I suppose in New York one doesn’t ask such questions. And–Office of the Public Editor! Upon which Olympian peak do such capitalized demigods frolic?

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