URLs du Jour

2006-06-15

It's an unusually good day for playing Whack the New York Times.

  • From today's Corrections column:
    An article on Sunday about commencement speeches around the country referred imprecisely to audience reaction to a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Boston College. While some people turned their backs on her and a protest banner was unfurled during her appearance, the scene inside Alumni Stadium where she spoke did not turn tumultous, nor was she heckled while speaking.
    What the article said was:
    Several commencement addresses, including Senator John McCain's at the New School University in New York and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's at Boston College, turned tumultuous, as some graduates heckled them.
    So, yes, the article "referred imprecisely" to Secretary Rice's speech, in the sense that everything it alleged about the speech was factually incorrect.

    A shorter version of the correction: "We just make this shit up. Who knew people would notice?"

  • Yesterday, the Times printed a tear-jerking op-ed from one Mourad Benchellali, who was captured in Afghanistan, imprisoned at Guantánamo for two and a half years, and released back in the summer of 2004. What they left out: Mourad went to Afghanistan with his big brother Menad, who dodged Guantánamo, but nevertheless was recently sentenced to 10 years in France for subsequent terrorism. His father got an 18-month sentence. From the CNN story:
    The Benchellali family was at the center of the case, with Menad's mother, Hafsa, and brother, Hafed, also on trial for roles in the plot to carry out an attack in France.
    And Mourad is still in a French slammer somewhere.

    Do you think any of that might possibly be relevant in judging the credibility of an op-ed columnist? Maybe disclose that to your readers? Not if you're the New York Times. Also commenting on this at more length: Roger Simon (who calls the Times folk "incompetent propagandists") and Matthew Hoy (who observes: "The Times has chosen to sacrifice decades of hard-won credibility in an effort at short-term, partisan political gain.")

  • The Times also demonstrated its humility and sense of fair play in a recent spat between regular columnist Thomas Friedman and General Motors. (I know what you're thinking: "Can't they somehow both lose?" But bear with me.) Friedman wrote an unusually nasty May 31 op-ed in opposition to GM's plan to offer fuel credit as an incentive to buy certain models. He deemed GM to be "dangerous to America's future" and likened the company to a "crack dealer."

    Naturally enough, GM wanted to reply. Read the sad tale of the company's long and futile effort to get their letter to the editor published. In response to Friedman's 800-word column, they submitted a 490-word letter. The Times demanded a cutback to 175 words. GM says: how about 300? The Times: no, let's try 200. GM: OK.

    But then the Times demanded that the submitted letter not refer to the Friedman column as "rubbish." (Yes, "crack dealer" is OK, "rubbish" was deemed to be a little too rough!) GM eventually gave up on the letter idea.

    Then Friedman (yesterday, June 14) prints an 1100-word attack on GM's blog entry that details the controversy. Classy, especially for not revealing anything about the NYT's aversion to letting GM get its reply letter into the paper.

  • And on a related note (stealing the idea from Club for Growth):

    [NYT stock price]


Last Modified 2012-10-23 3:25 PM EST