Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Pattern of deception: I hate to say it, but it's clear that The New York Times isn't the paper it used to be. The Jayson Blair fraud and Augusta Country Club Crusade aside, the paper's Op-Ed writers also have some series credibility problems.
If the Bush administration, and Republicans everywhere, were as bad as people like Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman believe them to be, then there'd be no need to perform cosmetic surgery on the things they say that make them look bad.
Maureen Dowd's done it -- by chopping the middle out of a Bush quote to completely change the meaning of the quote. Dowd never made a formal correction, instead using the complete, unedited quote a few columns later -- with no acknowledgement of the earlier, dishonest use.
Her colleague, Paul Krugman seems to follow the same method of correction. A week ago he did a similar snipping (though he wasn't the first to make this particular cut) with comments by Washington Rep. George Nethercutt a week ago.
After getting some flak, Krugman does the same thing -- and adds insult to injury.
Some say that Representative George Nethercutt's remark that progress in Iraq is a more important story than deaths of American soldiers was redeemed by his postscript, "which, heaven forbid, is awful." Your call.
My call? Thank you, oh Professor Krugman. Thank you for letting me, the reader, make the call. Thank you for giving me the whole story and allowing me to judge for myself. Thank you for finally telling me the truth.
Krugman's arrogance is galling, but it is to be expected. However, the Times' editorial pages correction policy is in need of a serious overhaul. These sorts of "mistakes" need to be remedied in a manner similar to those that take place elsewhere in the paper, not snuck into a subsequent column with no mention of the error in the first one.
Of course, an even better solution would be to make sure your columnists don't lie in the first place.