The New York Times can’t be wrong!


When dumb things are said by great people: Last Wednesday, the New York Times made a mistake. Unless you read the New York Times, in which case it was Gingrich’s fault.

Within the world of the New York Times, the New York Times simply can’t be wrong. This can produce some real amusement when the Times does make a mistake.

What did the Times get wrong last week? On Wednesday night, the paper reported that Donald Trump was going to endorse Newt Gingrich. But uh-oh! The very next day, Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney.

Did this mean the Times made a mistake? Darlings, please! On Friday morning, Trip Gabriel’s news report managed to blame the whole thing on Gingrich. These were the hard-copy headlines: “Gears Grind as Gingrich Shifts to Nevada/In an invasion of ‘Romney country,’ a few stumbles.”

What were the Gingrich “stumbles?” Go ahead—you deserve a good laugh:
GABRIEL (2/3/12): As Newt Gingrich seeks to remain a factor, not an also-ran, in the Republican presidential race, it sometimes seems as if the campaign vehicle meant to smoothly transport him to the nomination is more like the Joad family jalopy.

A miscommunication between state and national staff members caused Mr. Gingrich to miss a meeting on Wednesday with Brian Sandoval, the popular Republican governor of Nevada, which infuriated the local staff who had set it up.

On Wednesday evening, as the news media, including The New York Times, published a report that Donald Trump would endorse Mr. Gingrich, citing sources in or close to the campaign—a report that later proved false—Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman ignored requests to confirm or deny the account. And on Thursday, a forum with Hispanic leaders scheduled for 10 a.m. was suddenly pushed back 30 minutes, frustrating the local Gingrich supporter who had arranged it.
Gingrich was thirty minutes late for a meeting—and the New York Times made a large mistake. Unless you were reading the New York Times, where each incident meant that Newt’s campaign is like the Joad family’s jalopy!

It’s a matter of Hard Pundit Law: At the New York Times, the Times can’t be wrong! If you doubt that, just read this blog post in which Andrew Rosenthal asks a fairly dumb question: “Is Abortion Rare?”

In a previous post, Rosenthal had said that abortion in the United States actually is “safe, legal and rare.” Commenters asked if the procedure is really “rare,” given the fact that 1.2 million abortions occur in a year, versus 4.1 million births.

In our view, abortion should be legal—but it seems a bit odd to say that it’s “rare.” But however you may judge that imponderable, you might enjoy watching Rosenthal cherry-pick data to help us see that he can’t have been wrong. (To review the data from which he picked, click through to the Guttmacher fact-sheet.)

This is a very unimpressive group. Sadly, they define “press corps” culture.


  1. Yep, right up front the Guttmacher Institute says "Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion." IMHO that's the most useful statistic to measure whether or not abortion is "rare." Like Bob, I support a woman's right to choose abortion. Still, I appreciate his willingness to criticize someone for abuse of statistics, even though he's on our side.

    1. I'm willing to believe this, but does "abortion" mean "artificially-caused abortion." Does the term miscarriage exclude naturally caused abortion?

    2. I would assume that in the Guttmacher Institute's usage, "miscarriage" means "naturally caused abortion" so that their "abortion" figure is the number of voluntarily chosen abortions as a percentage of pregnancies that didn't end due to naturally occurring miscarriages. A 22% abortion rate according to that definition is consistent with the the quoted figures of 1.2 million abortions per year and 4.1 million births, since 1.2/5.3 = 22%.