Jim Romenesko provides a nice roundup today of how most of the nation's newspaper ombudsmen weighed in on the major media-ethics question of whether papers should stand up for free-speech rights and publish the Danish Mohammed cartoons that have sparked worldwide protests or respect religious sensitivities and refrain from publishing them. Some of the dozen columns highlighted included:
• Oregonian public editor Mike Arrieta-Walden: Not running Muhammad cartoons is like avoiding the n-word.
• Boston Globe ombudsman Richard Chacon: The paper "exercised an uncomfortable but necessary restraint."
• Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell: Editor Len Downie made a valid decision not to run the cartoons.
• Seattle Times executive editor Mike Fancher: The paper has "a responsibility to be sensitive to people."
• Minneapolis Star Tribune reader representative Kate Parry: Running the cartoons now is like shouting "fire" in a theater.
• Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple: Decision to withhold cartoons may come back to haunt editors.
• PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler: I thought The NewsHour handled the touchy story just right.
And what did our very own Barney Calame, public editor of The New York Times, have to say this weekend?
This fall's Congressional elections seem certain to rouse the interest of citizen-readers of The New York Times in the votes their legislators are casting in Washington. Given a newspaper's fundamental role in helping readers hold lawmakers accountable, providing lists of roll-call votes on major legislation should be an essential ingredient in The Times's Congressional coverage. And it has been for a long time.
But the paper has begun to move away from publishing even some of the most important roll-call votes....
You get 'em, Tiger.