Monday, September 26, 2005
Silly me: The New York Times has decided that it is time for a modified, limited rowback on the Geraldo libel.
The TV Watch column on Sept. 5 discussed broadcast journalists' undisguised outrage at the failings of Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. It said reporters had helped stranded victims because no police officers or rescue workers were around, and added, "Fox's Geraldo Rivera did his rivals one better: yesterday, he nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety."
The editors understood the "nudge" comment as the television critic's figurative reference to Mr. Rivera's flamboyant intervention. Mr. Rivera complained, but after reviewing a tape of his broadcast, The Times declined to publish a correction.
Numerous readers, however - now including Byron Calame, the newspaper's public editor, who also scrutinized the tape - read the comment as a factual assertion. The Times acknowledges that no nudge was visible on the broadcast. (Go to Article)
Oh, I feel like such a fool! I should've known that the Times wasn't referring to a literal nudge, but a figurative one. It was so clear from the context.
This is probably the silliest thing I've read in the Times since they put columnist Paul Krugman behind the pay-wall-of-silence.
Journalism's wounds are still self-inflicted.