Welcome to the Dancefloor: New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane


Arthur Brisbane’s first Sunday column for the New York Times, which will appear at least twice monthly until his soul is fully sucked, is titled “Why I Would Do This.” That’s defensive, implying someone asked him, Why would you do this? Apparently everyone did. He writes: “‘I feel like I’ve been sent to the principal’s office.'” The Times reporter sitting across from me smiled nervously. I hadn’t even spoken yet.” His predecessor, Clark Hoyt, said that the paper’s editor Bill Keller compared meeting with Hoyt to a “proctological exam.” So welcome, Mr. Brisbane, to the least recognized, most reviled position at the Times. You, sir, are no Frank Bruni.

But just because Top Chef won’t be calling anytime soon doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be fun. In fact, Brisbane is off to a nice start, with journalistic spoilsport Nytpicker saluting his very first blog post, which Brisbane snuck in last week, about science.

In his inaugural column, he buries the lede, as they say, dropping this way down in the second to last paragraph:

I believe that journalists should leave their political views at the door when they report and edit the news. I’m a registered Democrat who voted for Barack Obama and then Scott Brown, so, as you can see, I have already left my views at the door!

An exclamation point! A Red Sox fan? Let’s hope not.

Brisbane also does the requisite praising of the Times. He loves this institution! But he gives a nice shout to the media peons, pissers on power:

But is this enough in the age of Maximum Personal Expression, when readers and other critics chisel away daily at The Times’s credibility with such a potent arsenal of communication tools?

Bloggers, tweeters, aggregators and competing Web sites pore over Times content every day, hunting for food, hunting for fodder. In military terms, you could call it asymmetric warfare — a lightly armed foe waging war against a much larger and less agile one.

Nice to meet you, too, sir. Talk to you soon:


Phone: (212) 556-7652

Address: Public Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018