#FakeNews

The New York Times (shockingly!) gets it wrong. (Again)

[Update a while later]

And then there’s this misleading hed. You have to get deep into the story to find out that this decision was made during the Obama administration, and had nothing to do with Haley. Unless the headline is “Ambassador Haley’s Quarters Have $52,000 Curtains Ordered By The Obama Administration,” what is even the point of this story? Other than, of course, to make the Trump administration look bad.

[Noon update]

With regard to the latter story:

IOW, there was no point to the story. I wonder if the Public Editor will have anything to say about this?

12 thoughts on “#FakeNews”

  1. Regarding the first link about the Civil Rights Commission report, the NYT article originally said: But in a foreword to the commission’s latest report, Ms. Lhamon wrote that its key recommendations were unanimously supported by the commission’s eight members — six Democrats and two Republicans.

    The forward says “The Commission unanimously voted for key recommendations … , with the NYT (apparently not aware that the entire commission had partaken in the vote) adding the part about the eight members and their breakdown.

    NYT later corrected that paragraph to read: In a foreword to the commission’s latest report, Ms. Lhamon wrote that the panel unanimously supported the report’s key recommendations, a claim that some conservative advocacy groups said was untrue. A publicist for the commission, Vincent Eng, later said that the panel’s six Democratic members all approved the recommendations, but that its two Republican members either did not attend the session at which the vote was taken or left the room during the vote.

    Whatever bias the NYT may have, this particular case looks like an honest attempt at reporting followed by a correction when they became aware of the error.

    1. There is no role of “publicist” for the commission, and Vincent Eng isn’t employed by the commission. So why does the NYT put that information in the correction?

      1. “Publicist” is certainly a strange title. If the commission had only part-time use for a spokesperson, might they contract out those duties to a private company … such as the VENG Group?

          1. Huh? You seem to be reading more into my response than I intended to convey. I never thought that you didn’t think Mr. Eng existed.

            I did think that you were pointing out that “publicist” was a strange title for someone speaking for a government commission, when “spokesperson” or “press secretary” would be a more common one. However, now looking it up, I see that it is in fact common to refer to the profession as “publicist”, and so it might not be so unusual for a spokesman for the committee (whether permanently on staff or just contracted for the job) to describe himself as one.

            Is there something I should know about Mr. Eng to explain the significance you place on it being him answering the NYT’s question?

            As far as I can tell, USCCR’s Chair used a misleading phrase in the forward to their report, NYT was mislead by it and thus wrote a factually incorrect sentence. When alerted to this they reached out to the Committee, got the fuller story behind the vote from Mr. Eng, and corrected their article. What am I missing here?

          2. I don’t think it is I that is reading more into anything. I asked questions to better understand your reasoning. Instead of explaining your reasoning, you assume I think publicist is a strange title and just provide a link to Vincent Eng’s media advocacy company. I asked again, trying to better understand your reasoning; what does Vincent Eng existing have to do with the article’s honesty?

          3. You asserted, “There is no role of “publicist” for the commission, and Vincent Eng isn’t employed by the commission.

            Why is there no role for a publicist (possibly acting as a spokesperson or press secretary, though for all I know perhaps publicist would be the official title) for the commission? Why is it important whether their publicist is employed by the commission or contracted by them?

            (Confused, I am. The information the NYT attributed to Mr. Eng is consistent with what Gail Heriot states, namely that the two Republican commissioners were not present for the vote.)

          4. You asserted

            Nope, I simplified this quote from Rand’s original link: “This is deliberately misleading. The New York Times reporter for this article was informed via Twitter by my special assistant of the truth. She is not an advocacy group. I have no idea who Vincent Eng is, but he doesn’t work at the Commission, and when Eng’s statement was drawn to the Staff Director’s attention by my assistant, he denied that we even have a publicist.

            Now you are asserting; “The information the NYT attributed to Mr. Eng is consistent with what Gail Heriot states, namely that the two Republican commissioners were not present for the vote.”

            So, let me continue the quotation from the Gail Heriot where I left off: “In any event, nobody “left the room” when the vote came up. Indeed, there was no room. The vote was taken on the telephone. And by the way, I’m not a Republican. I was appointed by a Republican.

            The NYT wrote: “A publicist for the commission, Vincent Eng, later said that the panel’s six Democratic members all approved the recommendations, but that its two Republican members either did not attend the session at which the vote was taken or left the room during the vote.

            I will note that Gail Heriot add another update to her comments noting the Staff Director that originally denied having a publicist later admitted to hiring Mr. Eng as a “media consultant”. So this explains that Mr. Eng was working for the commission.

            It doesn’t explain why Mr. Eng suggested a situation that wasn’t possible to exist or why the NYT represented Gail Heriot’s assistant as an “advocacy group” (note, VENG Group’s website represents themselves as an advocacy group) or Gail as a Republican, rather than someone appointed by a Republican. Maybe Mr. Eng told them that information and the NYT just ran the story without verifying? But why would you, Kirk, claim Mr. Eng and Gail Heriot’s stories are consistent? Rand’s first link is Gail Heriot, in her own words, stating that Mr. Eng’s comments are not consistent with the events as she knows them.

          5. Ah ha! So your claims about Mr. Eng came from an update to the article. It would have been kind if you had noted that it had been updated, instead of leaving me to guess at the basis for your assertions. (Though I suppose it may have been updated by the time you first read it, and you just assumed that I had seen the same version you had.)

          6. As of 2013, NYT claimed that when they corrected an article, they must, without exception, acknowledge and explain at the bottom that “an earlier version of this article” … screwed up whatever.

            They do not appear to have done so for this article. I have emailed the author, Michael Wines, asking if this was an accidental omission, or if their policy has changed.

    2. Made an error or caught in a carefully crafted deception?

      The response over at Instapundit makes it look like a problematic correction where they can’t quite bring themselves to tell the whole truth.

      Journalists make mistakes all the time and always have. There is a difference between being wrong about something and being intentionally dishonest. The past 3 years have provided endless examples of the media not being just wrong but being intentionally deceitful. All it takes is for the reader to do a little bit of research into the article to find the deception but no one has time to do this, much less do it to every single article they read.

      Sometimes it can also be carelessness when reporting on other reporting. A story can be too good to fact check.

      Since the start of the election though, too often it is just pure dishonesty. A good example is the controversy over how many people died in Puerto Rico during their last hurricane. Three thousand people didn’t die in the hurricane and the media knows that and intentionally doesn’t inform their audience where that number came from.

      Maybe it has always been this way but the sheer volume of yellow journalism seems unprecedented.

      1. A story can be too good to fact check.

        I get the impression that the NYT made minor edits to a press release and just ran it. Why look for both sides of the story when you agree with it anyway. Just publish it and go back to counting advertising dollars.

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