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April 17, 2014

USAToday Stealth-Edits on the Ukraine Leaflets Story

I quoted the story as it was written some hours ago.

But they've changed it, without acknowledging the change.

WAS: Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported…

NOW IS: Pushilin acknowledged that fliers were distributed under his organization's name in Donetsk but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.

This is a major change in reporting -- from Pushilin admitting his men to handing them out, to a mere acknowledgement that he's aware of leaftlets purporting to come from his organization.

They have gone from reporting he publicly admitted that his men were dropping these leaflets, to him denying that.

This is not just a minor change in wording. This reverses, completely, their reporting on a key point.

We do not criticize the media for getting things wrong-- everyone gets things wrong, especially in fast-moving stories, and especially in cases of relying upon a translation.

But this is a major change to the original reporting and must be acknowledged as such -- otherwise people (like me) will go on thinking USAToday's original report was correct.

We don't get mad that they get things wrong. That is understandable.

We get mad that they can't bring themselves to admit they've gotten something wrong, and forthrightly correct the record.

And I have to think this is borne of incompetence. Competent people do not fear corrections, because they know they're getting things 90% right, and that's all you can hope for in this world.

It's the incompetents who are fearful that their next screw-up may mean their heads.

So I have to assume that USAToday considers itself incompetent, and on thin ice as far as the accuracy of its reporting.

Thanks to Anon Y. Mouse, who spotted this and was persistent in alerting me about it.

Unrelated, But: In Taranto's column discussing the politicization of the Census Bureau -- which, as DrewMTips notes, is a "crazy rightwing conspiracy theory" proven true -- he has a funny thing at the end.

Grandfather Clause

"This is not your grandfather's NATO anymore."--Thomas Friedman, New York Times, March 30, 2003

"Friends, we are in the midst of an energy crisis--but this is not your grandfather's energy crisis."--Friedman, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2006

"Well, my general view is that this isn't your father's recession; it's your grandfather's recession."--former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, New York Times website, Feb. 13, 2009

"To appreciate the problem, you need to know that this isn't your father's recession. It's your grandfather's, or maybe even (as I'll explain) your great-great-grandfather's."--Krugman, New York Times, Feb. 20, 2009

"I've been saying for almost a decade now that what we have these days aren't your father's recessions, they're your grandfather's recessions."--Krugman, New York Times website, Jan. 17, 2011

"And this is the relevant history we should be looking at: this isn't your father's slump, it's your grandfather's slump."--Krugman, New York Times website, Sept. 19, 2011

"If Israelis want to escape that fate, it is very important that they understand that we're not your grandfather's America anymore."--Friedman, New York Times, Nov. 11, 2012

"This is not your grandfather's battlefield."--Friedman, New York Times, Feb. 2, 2014

"We're not dealing anymore with your grandfather's Israel, and they're not dealing anymore with your grandmother's America either."--Friedman, New York Times, April 16, 2014

This is not your grandfather's cliched hackery.


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posted by Ace at 04:19 PM

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