The Times corrects an editing error!

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2016

A very peculiar newspaper:
The New York Times is a very peculiar newspaper. A few quick examples:

Yesterday's front-page report about Donald J. Trump struck us as very odd. The report began with Donald J. Trump's peculiar attack against Boeing.

By now, it seems fairly clear that Trump's fact-challenged, jumbled tweet was a flash response to criticism from Boeing's CEO. But if you read the part of the Times report which appeared on the paper's front page, you received no such impression.

Instead, Trump was profiled semi-heroically, By paragraph 3, his tweet was being compared to JFK's stand against the steel bosses way back when. Let's quote Shear and Drew, who posed as Gloss and Spun:

"For perhaps the first time since President John F. Kennedy took on the steel industry in the early 1960s, the heads of big American companies are being confronted by a leader willing to call them out directly and publicly for his policy and political aims."

Inside the paper, the reporters created a jumble all their own as they tried to paraphrase Trump's tweet and sort out the actual facts. This is a very strange newspaper. But then, what else is new?

This morning, the Times has published an astounding report by Amanda Ripley about the new Pisa scores. We'll postpone that journalistic disaster until tomorrow, noting only 1) that Ripley seems to be a virtual cult member at this point, and 2) that the Times has apparently decided to disappear the Timss and discuss the Pisa alone.

The Times is very odd. If we wanted to bait Kevin Drum, we'd blame it on high lead content in the water when the reporters and editors were young.

We could do it, but it would be wrong. (Truthfully, the Times makes us wonder. Drum has noted that lead exposure was much higher when today's adults were kids.)

The Times is a very strange paper. On Saturday, we plan to discuss one of its Book Review's amazing but revealing picks for ten best books of the year. For today, let's puzzle over a minor but fascinating point—the official correction which appeared on yesterday's op-ed page.

Initially,we were struck by the correction because the errors it corrected seemed to be so large. We were also struck by a lack of parallel construction in thecorrection, and by a murky claim we didn't understand.

Here's the correction as it appeared in yesterday morning's paper. Everybody makes mistakes, but the errors being corrected here seem to be very large—and something seems to be missing:
Correction in hard-copy New York Times, 12/7/16: Because of an editing error, an Op-Ed essay on Friday about Donald Trump's efforts to keep jobs in the United States misstated the change in auto sector employment in both the United States and Mexico between 2007 and 2015. In Mexico, jobs grew to 558,000 from 405,000, not to 675,000 from 174,000. In the United States, auto jobs declined to 762,000 from 828,000. The article also misstated the plans by Detroit car companies to invest and hire employees in Mexico. Ford and General Motors plan to invest a combined $9.1 billion and hire 12,200 more workers; Detroit car companies are not planning to invest $30 billion and hire 30,000 more workers.
The correction appears the same way on-line. Below, we'll show you the lengthier version of the correction which appears on Nexis.

Those errors seem very large. We don't know what kind of "editing error" could have produced such howlers, nor does the Times seem inclined to explain.

Beyond that, information has been omitted from the correction concerning auto jobs in the United States. Based upon the original text in last Friday's hard-copy Times, here's how that correction would have appeared had parallel construction prevailed:
Correction as it should have appeared in order to acknowledge the full sweep of the errors: Because of an editing error, an Op-Ed essay on Friday about Donald Trump’s efforts to keep jobs in the United States misstated the change in auto sector employment in both the United States and Mexico between 2007 and 2015. In Mexico, jobs grew to 558,000 from 405,000, not to 675,000 from 174,000. In the United States, auto jobs declined to 762,000 from 828,000; auto jobs did not increase to 900,000 from 828,000. The article also misstated plans by Detroit car companies in Mexico. Ford and General Motors plan to invest a combined $9.1 billion and hire 12,200 more workers; Detroit car companies are not planning to invest $30 billion and hire 30,000 more workers.
Jeez! The original piece was crammed with large mistakes. How did an editor cause that?

We were struck by the size of the errors; by the claim that an editor caused them; and by the lack of parallel construction in the correction. (The original erroneous information was included for Mexican jobs but not for jobs in the U.S.)

Then, we saw this same correction as it appears at Nexis. Two extra lines appear at the end, creating a bit of a puzzler:
Correction as it appears beneath the column on Nexis: This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the change in auto sector employment in both the United States and Mexico between 2007 and 2015. In Mexico, jobs grew to 558,000 from 405,000, not to 675,000 from 174,000. In the United States, auto jobs declined to 762,000 from 828,000. The article also misstated the plans by Detroit car companies to invest and hire employees in Mexico. Ford and General Motors plan to invest a combined $9.1 billion and hire 12,200 more workers; Detroit car companies are not planning to invest $30 billion and hire 30,000 more workers. The article also misstated the state tax incentives given to Carrier to keep 800 jobs in Indiana. Carrier was given $7 million over 10 years, not $700,000 a year.
We swear that's what it says. "Carrier was given $7 million over 10 years, not $700,000 a year!"

Presumably, the Times supplied that longer correction to Nexis, then thought better of those last two lines. For what it's worth, that final line may give a slightly false impression of what the original column said.

As it turned out, the column in question was written by Steven Rattner. He's one of the bright regular panelists with the puzzling Mika and Joe.

In closing, let's review:

Giant errors appeared in the original piece; this was attributed to "an editing error." Then, the Times began composing corrections. Chaos took over from there.

Tomorrow: The Pisa cult

11 comments:

  1. Whatever correction one chooses, it's still not clear in which country the 9.1 and 30 billions be invested.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds like the journalistic equivalent of the cast from the film American Pie is running The Times. I think they should bring back an old experienced hand like Judith Miller. At least she could lie us into a war that will eventually cost us $6 trillion without getting caught in such egregious errors so quickly. With Trump coming into office they will soon be called upon to spread similar disastrous lies in a semi-convincing. They better up their game pronto!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi everyone, I'm so excited.
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  3. Hi everyone, I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Mary Wilkie from England.
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

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  5. I think the Times' corrections have used the term "editing errror" very, very broadly, a practice not helpful to the reader. In this case, they probably got numbers from the wrong source or perhaps misinterpreted the numbers they had. But, I think they would call either of these "editing error."

    ReplyDelete
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  8. Hi everyone, I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Mary Wilkie from England.
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

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