For some inexplicable reason, Howard Kurtz likes the idea of paying a fat salary to a figurehead who gives a media institution a false sheen of accountability. Gee, can’t imagine why.
I understand the financial pressures that Baron faces. But an ombudsman gives unhappy readers, politicians and groups someone to complain to. He or she holds the editors and reporters accountable. When the Post was hit by the Janet Cooke scandal, the ombudsman was absolutely indispensible in investigating what happened and showing the world that the paper would not cover up the mess created by its fabricating Pulitzer Prize winner.
The Post was one of the first newspapers to employ an ombudsman. The New York Times didn’t have one until a decade ago, when its own mega-scandal (involving Jayson Blair) led the paper to finally create the role of in-house critic. The Los Angeles Times and USA Today don’t have them. Neither do the television networks.
And the difference between those outlets that employ an ombudsman and those that don’t is what exactly?
Is there anyone out there who honestly believes the once-legendary Washington Post is a better, more objective, more responsible news outlet than those among its competitors that don’t employ an ombudsman?
What did Patrick Pexton do to deter the Post from engaging in this corruption? Moreover, during the 2012 election, the Post was one of the most biased news outlets out there. More than once, it was caught openly coordinating its own big stories with the Obama campaign’s anti-Romney narratives. All during Pexton’s watch.
Overall, The Washington Post is a disgraceful newspaper, and getting worse every day. So, for some reason, the thought of another media elitist forced to enter the same Obama economy the media foisted on the rest of us doesn’t make me want to pick up a violin.
If an ombudsman or a media reporter like Howard Kurtz did their jobs with any amount of integrity, they would be as despised by the media-at-large as Internal Affairs is in any police department.
The fact that Pexton and Howie are beloved in MediaLand tells you everything you need to know about how necessary they are.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC