The Gray Lady Goes on the Record

Carnival of the NJ Bloggers
Carnival of the NJ Bloggers

Today Gail Collins, opinion editor at the New York Times, spells out that all corrections will be printed on the opinion page of the Times. Why would the Times do this?

We correct all errors, from heart-stoppingly egregious to sublimely insignificant, because we believe that The Times should take its reputation for accuracy seriously.

That is very noble of the paper of record. And to show their seriousness, the long overdue Paul Krugman correction about the recount of the 2000 election was run today.

In describing the results of the ballot study by the group led by The Miami Herald in his column of Aug. 26, Paul Krugman relied on the Herald report, which listed only three hypothetical statewide recounts, two of which went to Al Gore. There was, however, a fourth recount, which would have gone to George W. Bush. In this case, the two stricter-standard recounts went to Mr. Bush. A later study, by a group that included The New York Times, used two methods to count ballots: relying on the judgment of a majority of those examining each ballot, or requiring unanimity. Mr. Gore lost one hypothetical recount on the unanimity basis.

That’s a great start. Was it inspired by the final paragraph of the ombudsman’s scolding last week? Will Ms. Collins also feel obligated to run the correction that the Times has refused to run thus far about Geraldo Rivera. Mr. Calame has called the Gray Lady on it.

So if Ms. Stanley couldn’t have seen the nudge, why not publish a correction? Mr. Keller’s message unfortunately turns to a line of reasoning that raises, for me, a basic question of journalistic fairness. He suggests, “frankly,” that in light of Mr. Rivera’s reaction to the review, Ms. Stanley “would have been justified in assuming” – and therefore writing, apparently – that Mr. Rivera used “brute force” rather than merely a “nudge” on Sept. 4.

The paper had a corrections policy developed by Ms. Collins. It has not been fully enforced. The public editor has called them on it. The blogosphere has called them on it. Ms. Collins pats herself on the back and still does not make the correction.

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