Journalists flooded Twitter with side-splitting remarks about New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane's latest column, (provocatively?) wondering in the headline, "Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?" Brisbane leads with what seems to be a simple mission. "I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about." The immediate answer, everyone we follow seemed to agree, was a resounding YES. And yes, people did make fun of Brisbane's use of scare quotes around the word facts.
Brisbane implores his recently very outspoken readers (and you) to read more closely before you start swinging that criticism stick. Following the Twitter-powered outcry and a growing number of comments on his latest inward-facing post about The Times's approach to journalism -- the post's title "Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?" sort of speaks for itself -- Brisbane insists that people are answering the wrong question. "I often get very well-reasoned complaints and questions from readers, but in this case a lot of people responded to a question I was not asking," Brisbane said in a statement.