Collins corrects corrections

By

Gail Collins makes some half hearted feints towards restoring a bit of integrity to the New York Times today, by acknowledging some recent errors, particularly with regard to Paul Krugman's columns.  Today, October 2nd, the Times is still correcting Krugman's original August 19 collection of falsehoods on the Florida election controversy in 2000. Which means they have taken a month and half to get it right. Even by 19th century standards of time, a daily newspaper should not require so long to forthrightly acknowledge obvious error. And as the Times is learning to its chagrin, we live in the instantaneous interactive world of internet journalism. Adapt or die.

What is really going on is that Public Editor Byron Calame has put some heat on the Times editorial page writers and op ed columnists, and Collins is grudgingly giving a little ground. But she still has no ability to control her own nasty partisan streak, the same attitude which carries over to Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert Krugman, and the paper's editorial board on a regular basis. Catch this gem, Collins' method of admitting an error made by her editorial board and several op ed columnists:

"A "For the Record" column of errata will run under the editorials whenever it's appropriate. The first one appears today. It corrects several misstatements about when Joe Allbaugh, the former FEMA director, met his successor, Michael Brown, now legendary as a disaster in his own right. Although there have been multitudinous references throughout the media to the two as former college chums or college roommates, they in fact went to different schools. A spokeswoman for Mr. Allbaugh says that while they have been close pals for a long time, they met after graduation. Obviously, if we're debating the serious issue of allegations about cronyism at FEMA, a friend is a friend whether the relationship was born off campus or on. That's what makes this one perfect grist for "For the Record."

Note the cute language about Michael Brown, "now legendary as a disaster in his own right".  Disaster indeed: remember all those people raped and murdered in the Super Dome, while Brown could not get his act together at FEMA? Oh wait, none of those things actually happened, though Times readers might not yet have discovered it. They are likely still talking to each other over coffee at a Starbucks on the Upper West Side about the grave problems of race and class in America that Katrina exposed.  Imagine the Times saying that New Orleans Mayor Nagin, or Governor Blanco were disasters in their own right.  That will be the day. The Times does not have to wait for any commission to opine on the responsibility for any failures after Katrina hit. It had to be Bush and his cronies at fault. The problem with the Times, and the reason they continue to need to correct so often, is that the dripping sarcasm of their campaign to tar the Administration often carries them away from the facts, if they are inconvenient. No one expects an attention to accuracy in information gathering and reporting from the Demcoratic National Committee. And no one should expect it from the Times.

Richard Baehr   10 02 05

UPDATE: Mediacrity on Collins:

Gail, bless her heart, used to be a breezy and very funny Daily News columnist before she turned bureaucrat and hard—left polemicist, and she uses humor skillfully to make light of her page's arrogance, refusal to correct blatant factual errors and general credibility failings.

So let's start with the good stuff—— the really funny stuff. The Times editorial page has inaugurated a corrections column. Not.

Apparently a column entitled "corrections" is out of the question, so she is going to shove serious errors under the title "For the Record," which is supposed to be used for minor stuff, like getting an address wrong or ommitting a middle name....

 In a previous item I noted that the Times was overcome by stupidity by failing to correct blatant errors. These range from minor goofs to misquoting the Middle East "road map" —— which the Times has yet to correct.

Having read Gail's column, I now see that I was wrong. It's not so much that Times editors are stupid, but that they sincerely believe that Times readers are morons.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin on Collins:

This is the first time these errors have been acknowledged in the print version of the Times.

Although Collins' letter mentions Krugman's August 19 column, her correction does not. That column falsely stated:

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

The correction to that column incorrectly states that "the results of the 2000 Florida election study by a media consortium led by The Miami Herald... showed Al Gore winning [two out of three] statewide manual recounts."

Collins' correction also neglects to mention Krugman's August 22 column, entitled "Don't Prettify Our History," which contains this whopper:

About the evidence regarding a manual recount: in April 2001 a media consortium led by The Miami Herald assessed how various recounts of ''undervotes,'' which did not register at all, would have affected the outcome. Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

Given Collins' professed concern about ensuring the accuracy of archived columns——her letter to readers is entitled "It All Goes on the Permanent Record"——it will be interesting to see if her correction is appended to Krugman's August 19 and August 22 columns.

Michelle also links to severeal other blog reactions.

Gail Collins makes some half hearted feints towards restoring a bit of integrity to the New York Times today, by acknowledging some recent errors, particularly with regard to Paul Krugman's columns.  Today, October 2nd, the Times is still correcting Krugman's original August 19 collection of falsehoods on the Florida election controversy in 2000. Which means they have taken a month and half to get it right. Even by 19th century standards of time, a daily newspaper should not require so long to forthrightly acknowledge obvious error. And as the Times is learning to its chagrin, we live in the instantaneous interactive world of internet journalism. Adapt or die.

What is really going on is that Public Editor Byron Calame has put some heat on the Times editorial page writers and op ed columnists, and Collins is grudgingly giving a little ground. But she still has no ability to control her own nasty partisan streak, the same attitude which carries over to Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert Krugman, and the paper's editorial board on a regular basis. Catch this gem, Collins' method of admitting an error made by her editorial board and several op ed columnists:

"A "For the Record" column of errata will run under the editorials whenever it's appropriate. The first one appears today. It corrects several misstatements about when Joe Allbaugh, the former FEMA director, met his successor, Michael Brown, now legendary as a disaster in his own right. Although there have been multitudinous references throughout the media to the two as former college chums or college roommates, they in fact went to different schools. A spokeswoman for Mr. Allbaugh says that while they have been close pals for a long time, they met after graduation. Obviously, if we're debating the serious issue of allegations about cronyism at FEMA, a friend is a friend whether the relationship was born off campus or on. That's what makes this one perfect grist for "For the Record."

Note the cute language about Michael Brown, "now legendary as a disaster in his own right".  Disaster indeed: remember all those people raped and murdered in the Super Dome, while Brown could not get his act together at FEMA? Oh wait, none of those things actually happened, though Times readers might not yet have discovered it. They are likely still talking to each other over coffee at a Starbucks on the Upper West Side about the grave problems of race and class in America that Katrina exposed.  Imagine the Times saying that New Orleans Mayor Nagin, or Governor Blanco were disasters in their own right.  That will be the day. The Times does not have to wait for any commission to opine on the responsibility for any failures after Katrina hit. It had to be Bush and his cronies at fault. The problem with the Times, and the reason they continue to need to correct so often, is that the dripping sarcasm of their campaign to tar the Administration often carries them away from the facts, if they are inconvenient. No one expects an attention to accuracy in information gathering and reporting from the Demcoratic National Committee. And no one should expect it from the Times.

Richard Baehr   10 02 05

UPDATE: Mediacrity on Collins:

Gail, bless her heart, used to be a breezy and very funny Daily News columnist before she turned bureaucrat and hard—left polemicist, and she uses humor skillfully to make light of her page's arrogance, refusal to correct blatant factual errors and general credibility failings.

So let's start with the good stuff—— the really funny stuff. The Times editorial page has inaugurated a corrections column. Not.

Apparently a column entitled "corrections" is out of the question, so she is going to shove serious errors under the title "For the Record," which is supposed to be used for minor stuff, like getting an address wrong or ommitting a middle name....

 In a previous item I noted that the Times was overcome by stupidity by failing to correct blatant errors. These range from minor goofs to misquoting the Middle East "road map" —— which the Times has yet to correct.

Having read Gail's column, I now see that I was wrong. It's not so much that Times editors are stupid, but that they sincerely believe that Times readers are morons.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin on Collins:

This is the first time these errors have been acknowledged in the print version of the Times.

Although Collins' letter mentions Krugman's August 19 column, her correction does not. That column falsely stated:

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

The correction to that column incorrectly states that "the results of the 2000 Florida election study by a media consortium led by The Miami Herald... showed Al Gore winning [two out of three] statewide manual recounts."

Collins' correction also neglects to mention Krugman's August 22 column, entitled "Don't Prettify Our History," which contains this whopper:

About the evidence regarding a manual recount: in April 2001 a media consortium led by The Miami Herald assessed how various recounts of ''undervotes,'' which did not register at all, would have affected the outcome. Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore.

Given Collins' professed concern about ensuring the accuracy of archived columns——her letter to readers is entitled "It All Goes on the Permanent Record"——it will be interesting to see if her correction is appended to Krugman's August 19 and August 22 columns.

Michelle also links to severeal other blog reactions.