Outgoing "Public Editor" Piles on Praise for "An Exceptional Newspaper"

Blunt in-house criticism? Didn't happen.

Come back, Daniel Okrent, all is forgiven.

Times Watch thought that Okrent, the paper's first public editor, was overly forgiving of the paper and not sufficiently sensitive to liberal bias. But Okrent was a positive scourge compared to his successor as public editor, Barney Calame, who proved to be a loyal corporate man to the last, as judged by his final column Sunday, showing his unshaken esteem for the Times (Clark Hoyt, who seems to share Calame's premises,will take over the job next week.)

"The Times is an exceptional newspaper, notwithstanding the questions I have raised as public editor. You, the reader, receive a newspaper that is unrivaled in its breadth and consistency."

Calame scattered a few vague and bland criticisms related to process, not ideological bias (a rocky transition to the Web, editing lapses), but the main thrust was full-throated admiration. Calame concluded:

"It has been an honor to be entrusted to pursue concerns about The Times on behalf of you, the readers, and to monitor the integrity of the journalism practiced by the talented staff of this outstanding newspaper. It has been especially gratifying to hear from those of you whose questions and criticisms showed that you take seriously your obligation to be informed so you can be a more effective citizen in our democracy. I only wish there had been more such critics, those I came to think of as 'citizen readers.' And while you often deserved more breadth and vision than I had to offer, please know that I have given the job my all - for you and for the craft that I love."