New York Times doesn't know the basic facts

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The MSM constantly lecture us that one big advantage for their readers lies in the fact that editors and fact checkers ensure that the information they present is reliable, unlike those nasty internet websites. The New York Times is supposed to be the most prestigious, best member of the daily press fraternity, so you can rely on it more than, say, on us.

Yet their Middle East writer Steven Weissman, who never has a kind word for Israel, writes something as ludicrously stupid as this? (In an article with a dateline in the Arab world!):

Egypt represents more than half the population of the Arab world...

And why would the editors and fact checkers at the Times allow such a false assertion to appear in print? Only one conclusions is possible: nobody at the Times has more than a casual aquaintance with the basic subjects about which they are supposed to be expert. Egypt accounts for more like one quarter of the Arab population of the world, a fact readily ascertainable within seconds on the internet.

To be sure, Egypt is the biggest single Arab country in terms of population, but to believe that it has more than half the Arab population would require the same degree of ignorance as to believe that California has a quarter of the population of the United States. Any moderately—informed observer would know that to be an overstatement.

This is no small mistake. Population figures are critical to understanding the political and economic dynamics of a region. Anyone who wishes to achieve even basic understanding of the Arab world needs to know at least the rough dimesnions of population.

Face it: the Times is staffed by writers and editors who simply don't bother to learn the basics about the beats which they cover.

Hat tip: Richard Baehr

Thomas Lifson  11 13 05

The MSM constantly lecture us that one big advantage for their readers lies in the fact that editors and fact checkers ensure that the information they present is reliable, unlike those nasty internet websites. The New York Times is supposed to be the most prestigious, best member of the daily press fraternity, so you can rely on it more than, say, on us.

Yet their Middle East writer Steven Weissman, who never has a kind word for Israel, writes something as ludicrously stupid as this? (In an article with a dateline in the Arab world!):

Egypt represents more than half the population of the Arab world...

And why would the editors and fact checkers at the Times allow such a false assertion to appear in print? Only one conclusions is possible: nobody at the Times has more than a casual aquaintance with the basic subjects about which they are supposed to be expert. Egypt accounts for more like one quarter of the Arab population of the world, a fact readily ascertainable within seconds on the internet.

To be sure, Egypt is the biggest single Arab country in terms of population, but to believe that it has more than half the Arab population would require the same degree of ignorance as to believe that California has a quarter of the population of the United States. Any moderately—informed observer would know that to be an overstatement.

This is no small mistake. Population figures are critical to understanding the political and economic dynamics of a region. Anyone who wishes to achieve even basic understanding of the Arab world needs to know at least the rough dimesnions of population.

Face it: the Times is staffed by writers and editors who simply don't bother to learn the basics about the beats which they cover.

Hat tip: Richard Baehr

Thomas Lifson  11 13 05