Ombudding the ombudsman

Published January 19, 2004 3:58PM (EST)

The New York Times' ombudsman Daniel Okrent's take on his paper's treatment of Howard Dean falls short for some Deaniacs. Indeed, the paper's Dean coverage has prompted one blogger to start The Wilgoren Watch, a watchdog service of sorts to keep tabs on Times Dean reporter Jodi Wilgoren. Dean supporters say the Times has been tougher on their guy than other candidates, including Bush, and has used biased language, painting Dean as angry and smirk-prone and his supporters as lefty-fringe.

For his part, after analyzing seven weeks of Times stories on Dean, Okrent found "one sentence; one picture; two headlines; and an overplayed story" that didn't agree with him.

Economists for Dean disagree, and lay out their own analysis. They conclude: "Give me a freakin' break! ...So 'Birkenstock liberals' (a phrase Rove uses), 'tongue-studded next generation' are okay because they are 'part of the story.' Great, thanks Mr. Okrent, next time don't bother."

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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