Wednesday, February 26, 2003

UN-FACT OF THE DAY: THE TIMES ADMITS IT "EXCEEDED THE FACTS" The New York Times ran a remarkable correction today.
"A heading in the Business Digest column on Monday about the prospects for Lifetime magazine exceeded the facts of the article. The article said that the two companies behind the new magazine — the Hearst Corporation and the Walt Disney Company — faced 'formidable' odds in making it a success. The chances were not described as 'dire.'"
Precisely! "Exceeded the facts" by saying that things are "dire"! Could any correction more perfectly capture the essence of everything that is wrong with the Times' business coverage -- indeed, its all-pervading editorial slant, too?
Isn't this just what happens every time Gretchen Morgenson or Floyd Norris spin up the latest putative accounting scandal or CEO abuse? Isn't this just what happens every time Daniel Altman or Louis Uchitelle come up with another reason to think the economy is heading for depression? Isn't this just what happens every time Paul Krugman strings together a set of unsourced gossip-column blind-items to make it seem that the Bush administration is leading the nation to economic "catastrophe"?
"Exceeded the facts"... "not described as 'dire'"... exactly!
The only mystery is why this -- among the thousands of instances of precisely the same thing -- merited a correction.

Posted by Donald Luskin at 1:06 PM | link

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