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October 06, 2009

CBS "Fact-Checks" Conservative Blogs, With the Hilarious Results You'd Expect
Update: CBS Stealth-Corrects Story, Without Notifying Readers, to Include NYT Mention

Update: A story all about conservative bloggers' botching of a story, having been deliberately falsified to comport with The Narrative, is now stealth-corrected because conservative bloggers are now pointing out CBS' mistake deliberate falsehood.

As bloggers get on CBS' ass about their misleading story, CBS corrects it to include a reference to the NYT, without alerting anyone to the correction.

Whether there was an error here I don't know. The original statement that the daughter had not had meningitis at all comes from the NYT's own blog. It might well be the case that Michelle did not mean to imply her daughter didn't have meningitis, and that the NYT blog simply botched (badly) her paraphrase, reading stuff into it that wasn't there.

And it's probably true that the paraphrase of her statement shouldn't be relied upon in making a charge of deception; the original statement should have been consulted.

However: The NYT claims it fact-checks everything with multiple layers of painstaking editorial blah blah blah, including, if I'm not mistaken, its blogs. Unless liberals in the Leftwing Media want to make the case that the New York Times is simply too unreliable to treat as authoritative -- a position I heartily endorse -- it's a bit too much to cry "Gotcha!" over the NYT misleading everyone else.

And the NYT was cited prominently as the source of the paraphrase of Michelle Obama's remarks. It is simply not plausible that CBSNews missed this. They knew the mistake -- assuming there was one -- originated with their partner in polling, the New York Times. They deliberately omitted to mention that in order to write a story about conservative bloggers screwing up.

And now that they've been caught at that, they compound the original lie with a fresh one.

By the way: While it's true Michelle Obama didn't say that her daughter had not been diagnosed with meningitis, it certainly does sound like that's what she meant. The NYT blogger should have checked with her before assuming that is what she meant, but, in fairness to that blogger, it does sound like she was saying there was no diagnosis of meningitis.

Still, yes, the NYT blogger should have checked, and I suppose other bloggers should have checked too, because we now know the NYT doesn't check and cannot be relied upon to deliver an accurate paraphrase.

But it is amazing to me that with all these mistakes going on -- at the NYT, and then at CBSNews in "correcting" the alleged mistake -- the focus is of course on bloggers being misled by the supposedly fact-checked-to-death NYT.

By the Way: Meningitis, according to Wikipedia, is classified as an "emergency" situation and a "life-threatening" one at that.

It does seem strange to me that if Sasha really had meningitis that this would be the first time we've heard of it, or that Michelle Obama would speak of it so lightly.

It seems more likely to me that the NYT blogger got the paraphrase right -- that it had only been feared she had meningitis, but the test came back negative (which is, of course), positive.

Which would mean Barack Obama lied about it.

...


Michelle Obama said their daughter was almost diagnosed with meningitis, but was found to be free of the condition. Barack Obama says she was diagnosed with meningitis.

CBSNews fact-checks conservative blogs that botched this story so badly and notes that Michelle Obama didn't quite say in her quote that the daughter had been found free of meningitis. Implied, but didn't quite say, so conservative blogs are way, way wrong on this.

They forget to mention: The reason that conservative bloggers took Michelle Obama's implication to mean she hadn't contracted meningitis is because the New York Times so reported her remarks. The New York Times:

In her speech, Mrs. Obama also told the story of how her daughter Sasha would not stop crying when she was 4 months old. A doctor’s visit revealed she might have meningitis; she ultimately did not, but the illness produced a scare.

Despite the fact that the conservative bloggers being checked by CBS specifically linked and quoted the NYT story, CBS deliberately omits any mention of that newspaper. It's conservative bloggers' mistake, you see.

As for the actual truth of the matter: We don't really know and neither does CBS.






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