The Paper of Record, still sorting out the Jayson Blair mess, has decided to name a ?public editor,? which is a non-Swedish way of saying ?ombudsman.? As I argue in the August issue of Reason, the ombudsman concept was designed as a way for murky, state-owned bureaucracies to throw a bone to alienated customers, or to sweep public relations problems under the rug. Enron has an ombudsman, Southwest Airlines does not. Monopolist newspapers have been embracing the concept for the past 35 years or so, and the Times? long-standing refusal to jump on this journalistic bandwagon was always a signal, to me at least, that it was too busy competing to mollify the gatekeeper establishment. Oh well.