Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Thoughts on the CJR/Navasky kerfuffle

There are two separate issues at hand here:
  1. Why was a media watchdog being de facto run by a person--a controversial person--without public acknowledgement of that person in the masthead?

    Victor Navasky was playing a key role at the Columbia Journalism Review and was not listed in the publication's masthead. Of that there is now no doubt. The CJR has taken reactive steps to rectify this by announcing, only after exposure in this blog and elsewhere in the blogosphere, that Navasky will be on the masthead next issue. But that does not explain why he was not on the masthead as soon as he started performing the relevant functions. The CJR has lost credibility.

  2. Is a man well known for his left-wing views the right person to be running a supposedly non-partisan media watchdog?

    The major qualification Navasky has for the job is his experience helping liberal journal The Nation. And useful that experience will be--on the business side. But, Navasky is not suited to be running a non-partisan media watchdog. I would say the same of William Buckley or any other pundit known largely for holding ideological views strongly slanted to one side.

    Even if Navasky bends over backwards to be fair, he will always be open to charges of bias. And it remains to be seen if he will bend over backwards to be fair.
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