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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ben Smith’s column Sunday night, diving into the saga behind star correspondent Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting on terrorism, is the latest piece of criticism that the New York Times faces from within.

Why it matters: Recent examples of internal critiquing at the Times calls into question whether the Times and other companies should have eliminated the role of public editor.

  • Absent public editors, news giants are left to their readers, Twitter critics and internal voices to hold themselves accountable to their own editorial standards. The Times has established an online "reader center" which it says has helped it make smarter decisions and explain coverage better.

Other examples: Conservative opinion writer Bret Stephens published a critique on Friday of the company's lauded "1619" project for trying to reframe history. The New York Times Guild sent out a tweet denouncing the article, but quickly retracted it and later apologized for the mishap.

  • Earlier this year, the Times' editorial page editor James Bennet resigned after facing backlash from employees for green-lighting an op-ed by conservative Sen. Tom Cotton.

Be smart: A series of social change movements may have also empowered reporters to examine the standards and practices of their own companies.

Our thought bubble: The public editor role was meant to formalize critiques of a company from the inside, so as to avoid awkward disclosures and conflicts of interest. Smith notes that tension in his piece.

  • "Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn, I should note here, are my boss’s boss’s boss and my boss’s boss, respectively, and my writing about the Times while on its payroll brings with it all sorts of potential conflicts of interest and is generally a bit of a nightmare."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

1 hour ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.