What, them issue corrections: The New York Times is a real piece of work. Here’s why:
Yesterday, Paul Krugman made a very rare mistake in his column. The error didn’t contradict the basic thrust of the column, but it was a large mistake, and it came early on in the piece:
KRUGMAN (8/5/13): Consider what went down in Congress last week.In fact, House leaders announced plans to cut spending on food stamps by five percent. Krugman’s claim was way, way off. It was a very large error.
First, House leaders had to cancel planned voting on a transportation bill, because not enough representatives were willing to vote for the bill’s steep spending cuts. Now, just a few months ago House Republicans approved an extreme austerity budget, mandating severe overall cuts in federal spending — and each specific bill will have to involve large cuts in order to meet that target. But it turned out that a significant number of representatives, while willing to vote for huge spending cuts as long as there weren’t any specifics, balked at the details. Don’t cut you, don’t cut me, cut that fellow behind the tree.
Then House leaders announced plans to hold a vote cutting spending on food stamps in half—a demand that is likely to sink the already struggling effort to agree with the Senate on a farm bill.
Yesterday morning, Krugman corrected his error in this blog post, obscuring the size of the error a bit. But here we are, 36 hours later, and his column remains uncorrected on-line.
No correction has been posted on-line. No correction has been posted on Nexis.
“House leaders announced plans to hold a vote cutting spending on food stamps in half?” That statement is egregiously wrong. But at the Times, they simply don’t care. They’ll get around to correcting the error when they damn well please!
We saw this same who-gives-a-shittism in the Times’ early, egregious misreporting about the killing of Trayvon Martin. In its first report on the topic, the Times made a truly egregious error.
Reporter Lizette Alvarez stated that two shots had been fired that night, then constructed a heinous tale about what else must have happened. In fact, only one shot had been fired that night. The report was egregiously wrong.
That was a truly heinous mistake, one of the worst we’ve ever seen. But to this day, it stands uncorrected! If you review past coverage in the Times, you may still come away with the idea that two shots were fired that night.
Alvarez made a second major error that day. The Times took about three weeks to post a correction for that, although the error, which others had made, came to light within two days.
The Times is awful in so many ways it’s hard to keep track. It’s easy to correct a mistake like the (very rare) error Krugman made.
In this, as in so many things, the New York Times just doesn’t care.