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September 17, 2005

NYT's Ombudsmen Slams Op-Ed Editor For Allowing Paul Krugman Free Pass On Atrocious "Errors" and "Mistatements"

Hooboy. This is kinda big. This jackass has been trafficking in blatant lies culled from left-wing blogs and the most rabidly conspiratorial British yellow journalism, and he's thusfar been held immune from actually correcting his myriad errors.

Now the Times' ombudsmen (or "public editor," as they term it) calls Gail Collins to task for allowing Paul Krugman to get away with serial deception:

An Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who makes an error "is expected to promptly correct it in the column." That's the established policy of Gail Collins, editor of the editorial page. Her written policy encourages "a uniform approach, with the correction made at the bottom of the piece."

Two weeks have passed since my previous post spelled out the errors made by columnist Paul Krugman in writing about news media recounts of the 2000 Florida vote for president. Mr. Krugman still hasn't been required to comply with the policy by publishing a formal correction. Ms. Collins hasn't offered any explanation.

As a result, readers of nytimes.com who simply search for "Krugman" won't find any indication that there are uncorrected errors in the columns the query turns up. Nor will those who access Mr. Krugman's columns in an electronic database such as Nexis or Factiva. Corrections would have been appended in all those places if Mr. Krugman had complied with Ms. Collins' policy and corrected the errors in his column in the print version of The Times. (Essentially, to become part of the official archive of The Times, material has to have been published in the print paper.)

All Mr. Krugman has offered so far is a faux correction. Each Op-Ed columnist has a page in nytimes.com that includes his or her past columns and biographical information. Mr. Krugman has been allowed to post a note on his page that acknowledges his initial error, but doesn't explain that his initial correction of that error was also wrong. Since it hasn't been officially published, that posting doesn't cause the correction to be appended to any of the relevant columns.

...

A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times's credibility more than having no policy at all?

Ummm, I know the question is rhetorical, but let me answer it anyway: Yes, to the extent that the Times' credibility can be eroded any further at all.

Thanks to OregonMuse.

"I Thought It Was A Minor Detail" Update: Krugman seems to think all of his errors (no matter how central to his argument) are "minor" and he shouldn't be bothered correcting them.

Just One Minute has more background on Slippery Paul's casual relationship with accuracy.

Patterico has more, too.

It's the George Costanza school of journalism: It's not a lie if you believe it's true.


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posted by Ace at 02:42 PM

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