John Miller, Very Successful Public Editor

NEWS ITEM: The New York Times is close to selecting its next public editor, nearly three months after Margaret Sullivan announced she was leaving the publication for The Washington Post. —The Huffington Post, May 16, 2016


Greetings, readers, and welcome to my first column as the New York Times’ newest public editor. It is an honor and a privilege to take a job like this, even at a newspaper like the Times, which is doing very poorly.  

I’ll tell you the truth. When Sulzberger approached me about becoming public editor, he was begging. Begging. He wanted me so badly. I mean, the guy would have dropped to his knees. Pathetic! But finally I said yes.

As the sixth public editor in 13 years, I don’t know how long my own tenure here will last. I’m going to do this a little, part time, and then, yeah, go on with my life. But I’m here now and I will do great things.

I’m not stupid, okay?

A little bit about me and my background:

I went to the best schools. After that, I basically worked for different firms.

I know that by accepting this job I have big shoes to fill. Beginning with the first public editor, Daniel Okrent—who by the way is just an amazing person, very tough, smart guy—the Times has filled this role with very smart people. So it makes sense that they would choose me, because my IQ is one of the highest.

Also I have the best words.

Speaking of words, it may interest you to know that I’ve already been flooded with mail. Oh my God! So much mail. Much more than my predecessor ever got, that I can guarantee you. For instance, many, many readers—thousands, actually—have contacted me to ask about the Times’ coverage of Donald J. Trump, which they’re all calling unfair and dishonest. These readers, they are very upset. Here is a typical letter:

Dear New York Times,
Donald Trump has demolished the competition. He is polling extremely well. Not just with whites but with Hispanics and the blacks. And women love him. When will you stop having such bad reporting and start telling the truth, which is that he is a kind man and very smart and successful?

John Smith

John, you sound like a great person. I bet you are also a veteran, which I love, so thank you for your service. I sent your note to our top editors. If they respond I will let you know. They may be too busy fighting the many lawsuits filed against the Times for bad reporting. This newspaper has big problems, folks. Big problems.

Here is another:

Dear New York Times,
Why do you employ people like David Brooks, who is a clown? Everyone I know stopped reading your paper years ago, by the way.

Joseph Millstone

Joseph, trust me, I’ve seen so many letters like yours. I forwarded your question to David, asking for comment. Haven’t heard back yet. I can’t say whether he has dementia, or some brain disease or what, but people are asking. They ask me all the time. And I don’t know what to tell them. Dementia. I don’t know.

This one came via an anonymous voicemail message:

With the amount of dishonest stories you guys publish, it’s no wonder you’re irrelevant. Very sad!

Thanks for the message, whoever you are. I have to admit, you have a point. And you sound nothing like me!  

Please, keep these questions and comments coming, folks. And hurry. Do it while you still can, because the Times is a failing newspaper. That’s what everyone is saying.

Twitter works best.

All Best,
John Miller