Daniel Okrent of the Times is, on the one hand, counting the days until his sentence to serve as public editor of the Times is up. However, his year-end progress report is quite celebratory - the Times is more accurate, and less slanted!
The most poignant bit was this:
The Op-Ed columnists for the first time operate under a formal corrections policy, and if you haven't been seeing tons of corrections on the page, it may be for the best of reasons: judging by the shrinking volume of complaints I receive from readers, columnists' errors have become much less frequent.
I cannot speak for their entire vast readership, but for myself, my shrinking volume of complaints is due entirely to the fact that I have concluded that writing in tothe Times with a correction is a waste of time.
Although Mr. Okrent is referring to columnists specifically, my desire to avoid wasting both his time and mine is more general. For a few examples:
- On Oct. 2, the Times interviewed John Kerry about his health, in order to facilitate his refusal to release his medical records. The absurd comment about rice and shrapnel was never corrected, nor did I receive any response to my pointed observations. This was all consistent with the near Cone of Silence the Times put over the Swift Boat story. For those who chose to forget, here is how the WaPo treated one story after putting some news muscle into it (the phony headline is a rearguard action); here are some unanswered questions about Kerry's first Purple Heart that the Times will never even ask.
- Joseph Wilson was pushed onto the national stage by the NY Times, which let him leak anonymously to Nick Kristof, and then ran his famous "What I Didn't Find In Africa" column. Their coverage of his subsequent collapse was somewhat less diligent.
- As a final bonus, the Times election day Corrections was a comedy classic compilation of Bush-bashing errors.
Well, Merry Christmas anyway.
NOTE: I will be blogging from a secure location with highly variable ISP services and ski conditions. Snow, or blogging, may be light.