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April 14, 2005

Hypocrisy on Display


In a letter published in the New York Times today, National Public Radio Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin writes about the function of news outlets’ ombudsman and the need for “greater public accountability.” One wonders if Ombudsman Dvorkin is subconsciously commenting on his own professional failures when he writes:

While the presence of an ombudsman is not an automatic guarantee of better journalism, it is an indication that a news organization is prepared to take its sense of civic obligation more seriously than its obligation to shareholders.

Indeed, Dvorkin did nothing to promote “better journalism” when a disgruntled NPR listener recently approached him with substantive concerns about the network’s Mideast coverage. Rather than deal with the substance of the listener’s concern, Dvorkin responded with obfuscation and insults.

The public will not be so easily deceived into thinking that a media organization “takes its sense of civic obligation more seriously” simply because it hires an ombudsman whose apparent function is to defend the institution at all costs, including “better journalism” and civility.

Posted by TS at April 14, 2005 06:32 AM