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July 08, 2005

Update To the NYT's Odd "Correction"

My alternate theory was that the Times had attempted to "help" the author by suggesting more juicy (anti-Bush) language by placing it in the article, just to, um, see how it all looked together. Like picking the right purse for an ensemble.

Say Anything pressed Gail Collins on the made-up language, and she fesses up that that's more or less what happened.

Still seems like leading the witness to me. I've no doubt that reporters will often try to elicit the "killer quote" from a source ("Would you agree that President George Bush is a low-functioning retard psychopathic serial killer? If so, why? If not, why not?") and that seems a bit sketchy, too-- suggesting the "right quote" to a source and then quoting the source saying it (or merely affirming it) without noting the actual quote came from the reporter.

If there's nothing wrong with this-- why did the Times seek to hide what had actually happened with an uniformative and vague "correction" chalking the whole thing up to a "production error"?

They knew they were caught dirty on this, and they tried to hide it.

Not really a shock. I guess the shock is that they admitted it to Say Anything.

Update: BigE reminds:

Didnt the MSM get caught doing a similarly leading the witness type incident regarding the armor for humvees? Some GI hammered on Rummy about it and it turned out to have been fed to him by a reporter (and that the guys unit's humvees were already armored).

Looks like we are stumbling on to a tactic, Take what you believe and want to say and then go find someone who you can attribute the statements too. Preferebly someone with more credibility (i.e. if you want to hammer Bush about the war find a GI you can attribute your statments to).

That's how I remember it.

Bloggers aren't trained journalists, but we're all getting a crash-course in the stuff they don't teach you at J-school but which, apparently, a professional reporter needs to know how to do.


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posted by Ace at 03:06 PM

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