Sunday, June 12, 2005
A letter to the public editor: Today's New York Times editorial contains a falsehood. I've sent the following letter off to the Times' Byron Calame.
Good luck with this new job -- you'll probably need it.
I'm writing you with regard to Sundays editorial entitled "The Center Can Hold." There is a factual error in this editorial that needs to be corrected. Specifically the following statement: "He has promoted this so-called 'nuclear option' even though he himself once helped to filibuster a Clinton judicial nominee."
The "he" whom the editorial refers to is Senate majority leader Bill Frist. Not a single one of President Clintons judicial nominees was ever filibustered. Ever. Frist was one of a group of Republicans who once attempted a filibuster, but they did not succeed (too many Republicans saw such a move as beyond the pale and wouldn't go along). To say that voting against cloture and failing qualifies as a filibuster is false. It is a common Democrat talking point, but false nonetheless.
I will admit that I am a frequent critic of the Times editorial page and on occasion wrote your predecessor regarding errors of fact. Mr. Okrent was seldom successful when it came to the editorial page and the paper's columnists. I wish you better luck.
I look forward to hearing back from you. With your permission, I'd like to publish any response you get on my blog. You can find the Web address below.
Honestly, this isn't a tough one. The sentence in question is factually incorrect. It should merit a correction. I'm pessimistic that it will happen. I'd like to believe that Mr. Calame has some power at the Times -- this is a test case to see just how much.