Thursday, January 04, 2007

NY Times as Whipping Boy

In the short space of thirty minutes surfing I have come across two references maligning the New York Times for bad reporting, with poor or non-existent "fact-checking" as the reason.

Michelle Malkin points to last year's story about El Salvador's extreme anti-abortion laws which told of one Carmen Climaco, presented in the original story as a victim of those laws, who turns out to have been guilty of infanticide. Her response to this inaccuracy is to toss another can of accelerant on a bright fire burning the Times at the stake. Her post is replete with a photo of a DIY abortion device being marketed in places where legal abortions are not readily available. This has the effect, of course, of diverting attention from the core of the discussion to the flawed example of one of its arguments. Even though the Times addressed the issue, she still felt the need to say "The Times slung bull and they refuse to clean it up. The Times' Climcao-gate, like AP's Jamilgate and Reuters' Fauxtography scandal and CBS's Rathergate, will go down in MSM history as yet another case of textbook media malpractice." It is a broad brush indeed that can paint wide enough to cover not only the New York Times, but CBS, the Associated Press and all the rest of the mainstream media as well.

Judith Weiss, whom I respect and read almost daily, linked to Malkin's post, adding a bit of fuel from her own file.

Credit where credit is due. She ends her remarks with a line that would be a great tag line for a group blog: Need some asses fact-checked? The blogosphere stands ready to serve you. That's in the wish-I'd-said-that category. I like the tenor and snark of the line and am a big flag-waver for the blogosphere. But I am also aware that a blogswarm is only a few degrees of separation from mob behavior. Some of us still recognize that, but I fear it is a shrinking number.

[And by the way, in an unrelated matter, it's about time that Blogger, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google, get their damn spell checker updated to recognize terms such as blogosphere, blogswarm and even accelerant. Sheesh!]

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