Editor’s Gaffe Reveals Deeper Problems in Media

Being the ombudsman or “public editor” for the New York Times has to be a pretty thankless job in the best of times, but it got a whole lot more thankless for Arthur Brisbane on Thursday when he touched off a blog and Twitter firestorm by asking whether the newspaper’s reporters should be “truth vigilantes.” Many of the responses expressed shock that the paper would even have to ask such a question—what else should a media outlet like the NYT be doing? While Brisbane protested that his point was more nuanced than his critics suggested, the furor over his question reinforced a crucial point: Many traditional media sources are clinging to an outdated view of what their purpose is and how to accomplish it.

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