The New York Times has finally found the ombudsman “public editor” it needs, one who will stand by the paper no matter what. Clark Hoyt’s latest column defends the paper’s decision to identify a CIA interrogator (who is not accused of any wrongdoing) by name:
I understand how readers can think that if there is any risk at all, a person like Martinez should never be identified. But going in that direction, especially in this age of increasing government secrecy, would leave news organizations hobbled when trying to tell the public about some of the government’s most important and controversial actions.
Left answered (and indeed unasked) is the question of why then it was so bad for Robert Novak to identify Valerie Plame by name. Plame, after all, was a central character in a huge story about another of the government’s controversial actions.
As I’ve said before, it’s a good thing the Plame-Novak-Armitage affair has largely run its course. After this, any more crocodile tears from the NYT on Plame’s behalf would be awfully hard to take.