The Public Editor: The Truth and Alberto Gonzales

Why doesn't The New York Times just come out and say that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is a liar?

Sometimes, something seems so obvious to many readers -- that Gonzales lied repeatedly -- that they want their newspaper to say it just that plainly, and they're frustrated when it won't.

Take Bob Garfield, co-host of NPR's "On the Media." I was Garfield's guest on last week's program. He told me that he had read all the coverage leading up to Gonzales's resignation and concluded "that the attorney general has been lying through his ... Full Story »

Posted by Leo Romero


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Jim Lang
by Jim Lang - Oct. 1, 2008

This is good journalism that lays out one of the standards for good journalism: in a news article give the unskewed facts and let the reader draw conclusions.

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Jo Asmundsson
by Jo Asmundsson - Oct. 1, 2008

This story showed the true role of the Public Editor, which is seldom seen so forcefully as in this particular story. The article was well written and revealing. This is journalism I appreciate and would be happy to see more often.

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Peter Henry
by Peter Henry - Oct. 1, 2008

THis is a sweet, amusing story. An in-house critic of the NYT is asked why the NYT doesn't use the word "LIE" in news articles to describe Gonzales' sworn testimony. The short answer is this is an emotionally loaded word which belongs on the editorial page. OK, so long as the article makes it explicitly clear how Gonzales' statements contradict other evidence. Which the NYT does, once in a while, when writing about Gonzales or some other administration creep, when it fits whatever agenda the NYT is pushing. One wishes the NYT were a little more consistent, for example, when writing about the push to war in Iran, when discussing Gen. Petraeus's statements at face value, etc. It's amusing and touching how, when writing about its ... More »

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Lynn Caporale
by Lynn Caporale - Oct. 1, 2008

This article very clearly defines the Public Editor's view of what should be in an article [the facts, let a reader decide the adjective] vs. in an Editorial, and gives some historical perspective [once, there were no editorials, which much name calling in the articles]. It also presents very specific examples of coverage that treat readers as intelligent beings capable of drawing their own conclusions from extensive factual evidence, rather than simply calling Gonzalez a Liar.

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Ben Ross
by Ben Ross - Oct. 1, 2008

This stories reveal the times awareness that bush and his henchmen don't care about the truth...George W , the master of cynical selections for vital positions, get a free pass...and the LAIRS keep there pensions for life. Right along with Rummy and Scooter...the lyes and crooks of the Bush night mare could be front page news ,,,today and long time coming, don't look for the times to be the beacon of clarity and truth.

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Leo Romero
by Leo Romero - Oct. 1, 2008
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Jim Mac Donald
by Jim Mac Donald - Oct. 1, 2008

Really just NYT pushing its agenda - again! Use of NPR, a publicly funded, left wing source is almost laughable. This looks like an almost all time low in reporting. We, readers are not morons and deserve some respect from the NYT. Just report and let us decide. That is the "old fashioned" way!

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Joe Pallas
by Joe Pallas - Oct. 1, 2008

This is an informative look at how the NYT chose its language in one particular controversial news story. The introspection is not terribly deep, but it offers insight that would otherwise be unavailable.

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Francis Scalzi
by Francis Scalzi - Oct. 1, 2008

The public editor of the NYT, with regard to Gonzales, prefers to explain the position of the newspaper in terms of its oh-so-delicate mission of the Times in reporting the news without judging the intentions of the AG no matter how obvious his lies, even after they have been repeatedly demonstrated as such. As the NYT tip toes through the tulips nowadays, its cosmetized editorial and reporting policies would seem to prefer that we forget the 1990's when Howell Rains' editorial policy was to pass on as loudly as possible any and every fake rumor and false scandal concocted by the Republican destruction machine when it was hot on the tails of Bill and Hillary Clinton for nearly a decade. The NYT was right up there alongside the ... More »

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