Errors of Omission

We learn from the sports, business, medical, and other worlds of what are called "errors of omission," which can be as, or even more, serious than those termed "errors of commission."  The former generally are defined as failure to do something that ought to have been done, whereas the latter term refers to an actual act of doing something -- but incorrectly or wrongfully.

Perhaps nowhere do we encounter errors of omission more frequently or more egregiously than in today's mainstream print and broadcast media, where agendas of various sorts are driven not only by misleading, spun, or factually incorrect reporting, but by the omission or failure to cover events, or aspects of them, at all.

Today's New York Times treats us to an almost unbelievable example. Spread across four columns at the top of page A4 is a 495-word article penned by one Robin Caryn Rabin on the subject of circumcision, some recent view changes by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and an assortment of pro and con controversy from various governments and organizations around the world.

In all this, certain words have been totally omitted, among them: religion, religious, Jewish, Judaism, Islam, Muslim, tradition, requirement -- and any other reference to the Jewish and Muslim practice of male circumcision as a matter of obedience to religious commandment from those religions' most sacred texts. Circumcision, Rabin writes, quoting a member of the Academy, is "pro-choice, for lack of a better word."

In all the discussion, the reader is presented with arguments for and against based on shaky or nonexistent "evidence" of  health benefits, or PC indignation at the "immorality" of parents making the decision for their infant boy children.

Not one single word about the real reason why over 23% of the world's population circumcise their male children. One can only assume that this monumental error of omission is dues to sheer ignorance about the practice or a deliberate decision to mislead by leaving out important information. Knowing the New York Times and its methods, I have my opinion. What's yours?

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