Tuesday, September 27, 2005

All the Stupidity That's Fit to Print

After reading the Editor's Note today in New York Times grudgingly and dishonestly sliming its way around a correction of its blatantly false report on Geraldo Rivera, I have changed my opinion of the Times.

This is not an arrogant newspaper after all! No, what I had thought was arrogance is actually a very deeply engrained stupidity.

Here we had a situation in which the Times made a mistake. It was obvious--a Times critic said Geraldo "nudged" somebody, and he didn't. OK, not the end of the world. You promptly run a correction. And if you don't promptly run a correction, you belatedly run a correction--and, in an egregious case such as this, an apology. End of story.

Instead, in the Editor's Note today, we get a dog-ate-homework, childishly defiant rationalization that "The editors understood the 'nudge' comment as the television critic's figurative reference to Mr. Rivera's flamboyant intervention."

Oooookay, let's sum up what the Times has accomplished to date from its handling of this one blatant but less than earth-shattering error:

1. It demonstrated its arrogance by refusing to promptly correct an obvious error.

2. It demonstrated a vindictive and petty streak at the highest levels, since executive editor Bill Keller used Geraldo's justified anger as a reason for not correcting this obvious error. So said its Empty Suit ombudsman Barney Calame.

3. It demonstrated the uselessness of the Empty Suit, who only belatedly weighed in, and eased the sting for Times management by needlessly abusing and insulting Geraldo.

4. By turning a mistake into a massive controversy, the Times highlighted the error-prone character of the critic who wrote the piece, Alessandra Stanley.

5. And finally, after the immense furor and a campaign on Fox News by Geraldo, the Times throws the last shovelful of earth on its credibility with an editor's note that is an insult to the intelligence of its readers.

Way to go, New York Times!

UPDATE: Hilarious take on "Nudgegate" in the National Review Online. (I was wondering, too, when Sulzberger was going to deal with that "kick in the face.")

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