Okay...Byron Calame has now officially replaced Daniel Okrent as the Public Editor (or Ombudsman) at New York Times. And not a moment too soon.
Calame's first column two weeks ago criticized the paper's tardiness in covering the issue of the Downing Street Minutes, and his latest column, published yesterday, sets a few of his goals in the new job.
Among those goals, Calame claims, will be more responsiveness to reader Email when they feel that stories are being given less than the coverage they deserve by "the paper of record".
The Okrent chapter now closed (and we had found his eagnerness and interest in responding to reader concerns to be less than up to snuff), we'd like to give Mr. Calame a fresh opportunity to get the job done right.
To that end, our hopes are that "6 or 7" of you might drop Mr. Calame some email concerning the dreadful coverage that the NY Times has given to issues of Election 2004 and Election Reform. Nothing else matters much as long as those issues are not resolved. And the clock is ticking towards '06. And the matter, thanks to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), is just getting worse every day around the country.
The case that we have a completely corrupt, hackable, non-transparent, non-auditable, un-democratic, un-American, privatized, GOP-owned Electoral System in this country, and the unaudited and likely wholly incorrect results that it produced last November has been well documented for at least seven months in hundreds of articles on The BRAD BLOG pages, but covered in perhaps 3 or 4 articles (at most!) by the NY Times.
And, of course, names like Vote-Rigging Software Whistleblower, Clint Curtis and the myriad of well-documented investigative articles on the matter which we have published over those months, have never been mentioned even once in their pages.
Neither have they mentioned the phony GOP front group calling themselves "The American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) or the affront to real Election Reform in the body of the illegitimate "Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission" headed by --- of all offensive ironies --- longtime Bush Family crony and the architect of the Bush/Cheney 2000 strategy to ensure that Americans' votes would never be counted, James A. Baker III. (That body, by the way, is meeting again on June 30th in Houston on Baker's home turf...shouldn't the fact that he's heading such a commission along with Voting Machine Company officials actually sitting on the same commission, with advisors from the ACVR be an issue worth reporting on by The New York Times?)
As to the still-unexplained disparities between the Final Results of the Election and the now-infamous Mitofsky/Edison Exit Polls that day (the same polls, by the same company that were good enough to make the prima facie case for Electoral Fraud in Ukraine by no one less than George W. Bush himself, but completely ignored in America for reasons still unkown), the NY Times continues to be desperately delinquent in their job of investigating and reporting on the issue to the American People. Should Mr. Calame be unaware of the controversy, feel free to point him here [PDF] and here [PDF].
If he's still unaware of the ever-growing confidence crisis surrounding elections in this country, feel free to point him to editorials by Robert Koehler here or Jim Lampley here.
And then there is the matter of millions of American tax-payer dollars flowing right now to Voting Machine Companies under HAVA for new voting hardware and software which is unauditable, lacking any real standards and allowed to remain wholly proprietary and unverified by all independent bodies.
As Mr. Calame is freshly on board at "the paper of record", and as we frequently point out, "it's only democracy at stake", we feel it's time for a fresh round of polite email to the Times demanding once again that they fulfill their vital fourth estate duties as watchdogs on behalf of this country. It is time to demand again that they finally investigate the enormous and still-growing body of evidence out there that indicates Election 2004 was gamed at best, stolen at worst. Furthermore, they must offer informed, honest, investigative reporting about the most important issue that our democracy --- theoretically the world's most important --- faces today: clean, fair, open, transparent, verifiable and trustworthy elections which can only be achieved through real Election Reform requiring nothing less than a voter-verified paper ballot created for every vote cast.
If we don't get that right and we continue to have Elections in this country which the citizenry continue to have zero confidence in, then nothing...and we mean nothing...else matters.
Send Mr. Calame your email and spread the link to this article high and low --- use the "Email it to someone" link below as much as you wish --- so that others might do the same!
It's your democracy and we believe it's well worth fighting for! We won't give up on it yet, if you don't! Make some noise! It matters!
Byron Calame, NYTimes Public Editor: Public@NYTimes.com