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(The New York Times)   NY Times public editor is "looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should" do their damn jobs   (publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com ) divider line
    More: Asinine  
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7064 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Jan 2012 at 2:15 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-01-12 12:38:50 PM  
OMG, I thought the headline was being hyperbolic.

. . . WTF, New York Times? Is being the paper of record too hard for you? What kind of f'ed up question is that?
 
2012-01-12 12:48:28 PM  
The fact that they have to ask that makes me doubt their ability to do it.
 
2012-01-12 12:56:11 PM  

Wendy's Chili: The fact that they have to ask that makes me doubt their ability to do it.


You know, I was pretty annoyed by this question too, until this thought scared me more:
Why are Americans depending on newspapers to be their BS detectors? Newspapers should dig out the BS that is hidden; Americans should be able to filter out the ridiculous stuff (like the story one of the GOP Fembots told about Paul Revere's ride).
 
2012-01-12 12:58:27 PM  

Peki: Wendy's Chili: The fact that they have to ask that makes me doubt their ability to do it.

You know, I was pretty annoyed by this question too, until this thought scared me more:
Why are Americans depending on newspapers to be their BS detectors? Newspapers should dig out the BS that is hidden; Americans should be able to filter out the ridiculous stuff (like the story one of the GOP Fembots told about Paul Revere's ride).


There's a lot of ridiculous stuff out there.
 
2012-01-12 01:11:52 PM  
Also: Why is it suddenly okay for reporters to include comments by "JerseyGirl31" in their articles? So lazy they can't get out of their office to actually walk a beat?

/I may not be that old yet, but you can still get off my lawn
 
2012-01-12 01:17:26 PM  
nah, they can keep sucking like the rest of the main stream media. after all, walking down the street to investigate and report how the banks were robbing america is why too much work. and it might make a class reunion or two uncomfortable. and fact checking is soooooo 20th century. fark that shiat.
 
2012-01-12 02:17:12 PM  
NYT is suggesting that noting baldfaced lies might interfere with 'objectivity'. Where do you draw the line between the US press and Pravda?
 
2012-01-12 02:19:14 PM  
Oh...my...god. I thought subby was making a joke.

Seriously, NY Times? You really want to know when it's appropriate to fact-check statements made by politicians rather than just printing them verbatim?

Here's the answer: ALL THE TIME. Do your farking jobs. Be a goddamn journalist. Jesus Christ.
 
2012-01-12 02:20:15 PM  
FTFA "I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

Got as far as that and I don't have enough hands for the Facepalm needed
 
2012-01-12 02:20:20 PM  

Wendy's Chili: The fact that they have to ask that makes me doubt their ability to do it.


Bears repeating.
 
2012-01-12 02:20:48 PM  
Here's the TFD thread title:
My advertisers really want lots of click-bait and other assorted BS to get pageviews up and move papers but my reporters want to dig up dirt and expose scandals that might eventually hurt my advertisers, WHAT DO?
 
2012-01-12 02:26:36 PM  
Obviously a paper should only fact check statements made by political parties they do not support.

Factual statements made by a member of the other party should be downplayed or possibility phrased as a question.

Remember that for every solid fact, there is a cloud yelling nutter out there with an opposing view. Who better to give us another take on economics or nuclear physics than a man who converses with scorpions? Make sure to give his statements equal weight.
 
2012-01-12 02:27:32 PM  
Awesome. The paper of record, folks.
 
2012-01-12 02:27:37 PM  
Being a "truth vigilante" is your goddamn job description, you dolts.
 
2012-01-12 02:28:11 PM  
The New York Times has long ago forfeited its claim to be "the paper of record." Their motto has been for a long time "All the news we see fit to print."

Will we also get statements at the bottom of articles citing the reporters political affiliation and campaign contributions? --- Yeah I thought not.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
 
2012-01-12 02:28:28 PM  

Doc Daneeka: Oh...my...god. I thought subby was making a joke.

Seriously, NY Times? You really want to know when it's appropriate to fact-check statements made by politicians rather than just printing them verbatim?

Here's the answer: ALL THE TIME. Do your farking jobs. Be a goddamn journalist. Jesus Christ.


I see the concept of the "Fourth Estate" died with Ed Murrow.
 
2012-01-12 02:28:36 PM  
You've got to be farking kidding me.

You're journalists. You're FARKING JOB is supposed to be sorting through all the bullshiat and following a story to wherever the facts lead. Your job is not to simply record what each side says like say, CNN does. "The GOP says this. The Democrats say this. We'll leave it there". That makes you glorified stenographers, you farking farks.

The NYT has to ask this question? I think my brain just exploded.
 
2012-01-12 02:28:54 PM  

Peki: Wendy's Chili: The fact that they have to ask that makes me doubt their ability to do it.

You know, I was pretty annoyed by this question too, until this thought scared me more:
Why are Americans depending on newspapers to be their BS detectors? Newspapers should dig out the BS that is hidden; Americans should be able to filter out the ridiculous stuff (like the story one of the GOP Fembots told about Paul Revere's ride).


Truth is rarely cut and dried. The example cited by the article's author illustrates this very well:

"The president has never used the word 'apologize' in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president's words."


In this hypothetical example, not using the word "apologize" does not necessarily mean he wasn't apologizing, and for the reporter to insert the phrase "misleading interpretation of the president's words" just means that we're getting the reporter's interpretation instead.

If a candidate were to say "up is down and black is white", well, that's easy enough to debunk and doesn't really require the reporter to challenge the claimant. However, the reporter still has a duty to ask followup questions and demand that possibly-spurious claims are backed by evidence. He should be saying "prove that up is down and I will report your proof and allow my readers to decide". What he shouldn't be saying is "he proved that up is down, but that's really just a misleading interpretation..."
 
2012-01-12 02:29:05 PM  
It's this simple: if a statement can be objectively proven or disproven, then do the research. Let the user know what you find out.

If a statement is subjective in nature, just report what the source said and keep your own thoughts out if it, if it's a straight news piece.

A reporter cannot determine whether Clarence Thomas "misunderstood" a financial disclosure form or intentionally provided misleading information, without access to the interior of Mr. Thomas' mind.

If Romney accuses the President of "apologizing for America", it is not the reporter's job to evaluate whether Obama's public statements are best described as apologetic. If Mr. Obama wishes to refute that characterization of his stance, he can do so himself.
 
2012-01-12 02:31:30 PM  

poot_rootbeer: A reporter cannot determine whether Clarence Thomas "misunderstood" a financial disclosure form or intentionally provided misleading information, without access to the interior of Mr. Thomas' mind.


No they can't, but they can report how complicated the form is and let the reader decide.
 
2012-01-12 02:35:01 PM  
"There's the Truth" *furrows brows, shakes head*, "and there's the 'Truth'!" *big grin, nodding*
 
2012-01-12 02:35:43 PM  

albatros183: FTFA "I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

Got as far as that and I don't have enough hands for the Facepalm needed


g2.img-dpreview.com
 
2012-01-12 02:36:04 PM  

Sticky Hands: Obviously a paper should only fact check statements made by political parties they do not support.

Factual statements made by a member of the other party should be downplayed or possibility phrased as a question.

Remember that for every solid fact, there is a cloud yelling nutter out there with an opposing view. Who better to give us another take on economics or nuclear physics than a man who converses with scorpions? Make sure to give his statements equal weight.


Yeah, I'll be waiting on Messrs. Krugman and Liptak to call out Obama, Boxer or Pelosi for "what they think is a lie".
 
2012-01-12 02:36:45 PM  

SphericalTime: OMG, I thought the headline was being hyperbolic.

. . . WTF, New York Times? Is being the paper of record too hard for you? What kind of f'ed up question is that?


Historically this has NOT been the role of a newspaper. It would be a change, but a damn good (and over due) one.

If you give a crap, send em an email.

Imagine the fun if real news outlets did fact checking of politician's claims and called them out on the BS!!!
 
2012-01-12 02:38:03 PM  
I don't know why people are outraged/facepalming over this. As a reporter, you simply say why happened. When you start injecting you're opinion, which is whether or not Obama is apologizing for American in the article, you begin stating opinion or analysis.

It's what got Juan Williams fired from NPR amid controversy, so the NYT is clearly not alone here.
 
2012-01-12 02:38:05 PM  
You know, I just can't get angry about this. Whether you approve or not, it's pretty standard to say "Candidate X said that most cows have 5 legs." Then there's another column nearby saying "Experts think he's full of bull about cows."

He's just saying that some people want to combine those two, and he's considering telling his reporters to do that.

The argument against is that in many cases it might be hard to tell where the line between correcting facts and editorializing sits.
 
2012-01-12 02:38:45 PM  
If so, then perhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less:

"The president has never used the word 'apologize' in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president's words."


A better strategy would be to say Romney failed to give any specific examples unless the reporter is 100% sure it never happened. One can be an apologist without using the word "apology". I am not trying to say either way in this case, only that reporters should report facts not conjecture or opinion. That's what pundits are for.
 
2012-01-12 02:38:55 PM  
The NYT is run so poorly that it could be the Republican idea what a government agency is. They may have to let the editorial side go soon, so it's really a non question of what a reporter should do.
 
2012-01-12 02:39:01 PM  

Sticky Hands: Obviously a paper should only fact check statements made by political parties they do not support.

Factual statements made by a member of the other party should be downplayed or possibility phrased as a question.

Remember that for every solid fact, there is a cloud yelling nutter out there with an opposing view. Who better to give us another take on economics or nuclear physics than a man who converses with scorpions? Make sure to give his statements equal weight.


It's seems that most reporters don't understand that not every story has two sides.

Even the ones we think have two sides because the "debate" has been beaten into the discourse over and over and over.

/you know the issues I'm talking about
 
2012-01-12 02:41:52 PM  

SpectroBoy: If you give a crap, send em an email.


I did. It was short and to the point:

"You do realize that being a "truth vigilante" is your $%!&ing job description, right? The job that you were hired to do? What sorry state of affairs is it that professional journalists even feel the need to ask their readers whether journalists should be uncovering untruths and how often? Do you have any idea what kind of messed-up question that is to even find yourself asking?

Yes. Yes, I would in fact like you to do your jobs. Jesus Christ."

If you'd like to send them one as well, they want them at publ­i­c[nospam-﹫-backwards]sem­ityn*c­o­m with the subject heading "Readers Point The Way: Correcting Untruths".
 
2012-01-12 02:42:05 PM  
Ahem, they did say that they currently run "fact check" info in a sidebar; in a given article, they run what was said and the sidebar is for reality check. They're asking if they should put the fact-checking in the article proper.

But go ahead and foam at the mouth if you want. It's not like you've got work to do yourself.
 
2012-01-12 02:42:29 PM  

I May Be Crazy But...: You know, I just can't get angry about this. Whether you approve or not, it's pretty standard to say "Candidate X said that most cows have 5 legs." Then there's another column nearby saying "Experts think he's full of bull about cows."

He's just saying that some people want to combine those two, and he's considering telling his reporters to do that.

The argument against is that in many cases it might be hard to tell where the line between correcting facts and editorializing sits.


This. What I was trying to say, but better.
 
2012-01-12 02:42:45 PM  
The headline and the first graph are horribly misleading and poorly worded, but the examples he gives better illustrate the point (I think) he is trying to make. Yes, newspapers should report the facts and dig for the truth. But as others have said before me, the truth isn't always so cut and dried and you could end up with stories containing strange paragraphs like this:

"The president has never used the word 'apologize' in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president's words."

The reporter believes it to be misleading, others may not. It's not so simple to categorize everything as either 100% true or 100% false. In this case the reporter would get a comment from the White House defending the speeches. It's not up to the reporter to defend them.

That having been said, the New York Times should know better and definitely should have written this better.
 
2012-01-12 02:43:29 PM  

Gordian Cipher: I see the concept of the "Fourth Estate" died with Ed Murrow.


Do you feel that odd trembling? That's E.R. Murrow rolling in his farking grave! This is yet another signpost on the road to American irrelevancy.
 
2012-01-12 02:44:50 PM  
John Pilger confronted UK and US journalists on this issue in (I think) The War You Do Not See.

It was brilliant and discouraging.
 
2012-01-12 02:44:55 PM  
But you KNOW what the NYT is going to do if they run with this don't you?

Everything Obama and the Democrats say is written in stone truth.
Everything any Republican, religious, or conservative says will be a "COLD BLOODIED LIE"

/Not slanted news not at all.
//Slanted like Chairman Mao's eyes
 
2012-01-12 02:45:38 PM  
Judith Miller is laughing at everyone.
 
2012-01-12 02:49:27 PM  
I will go you one simpler: When has the New York Times ever told the truth?
 
2012-01-12 02:49:37 PM  
Boy I'm glad I haven't been paying for their paper. Have they really been phoning it in so long they've forgotten their job?
 
2012-01-12 02:49:54 PM  
Reporters are just that reporters their job is Who, What, When, Where, and Why and NOTHING else!
Editorials, columnists. and investigative journalists cover the issues of "truth."

That the New York Times does not even comprehend what a reporter's responsibilities are indicates just how far the mighty have fallen.
 
2012-01-12 02:50:40 PM  

RatOmeter: Ahem, they did say that they currently run "fact check" info in a sidebar; in a given article, they run what was said and the sidebar is for reality check. They're asking if they should put the fact-checking in the article proper.

But go ahead and foam at the mouth if you want. It's not like you've got work to do yourself.


Oh, I do. I have a blog of my own. I cover a fair bit of news there myself. I put my money where my mouth is.
 
2012-01-12 02:51:36 PM  

weeha: But you KNOW what the NYT is going to do if they run with this don't you?

Everything Obama and the Democrats say is written in stone truth.
Everything any Republican, religious, or conservative says will be a "COLD BLOODIED LIE"

/Not slanted news not at all.
//Slanted like Chairman Mao's eyes


Nice catch, fauxnews viewer!
 
2012-01-12 02:53:43 PM  

olddinosaur: I will go you one simpler: When has the New York Times ever told the truth?


Well, the crossword solution, for one. But it's always a day old.

/I read the important parts.
 
2012-01-12 02:55:00 PM  

Delawheredad: Reporters are just that reporters their job is Who, What, When, Where, and Why and NOTHING else!


Are those not facts? And if they are facts, does that not mean they are true? Is it not then the responsibility of reporters to report truth?
 
2012-01-12 02:56:17 PM  
Should doctors be 'health vigilantes'? Or should they just offer healing suggestions?
 
2012-01-12 02:56:24 PM  

SphericalTime: OMG, I thought the headline was being hyperbolic.

. . . WTF, New York Times? Is being the paper of record too hard for you? What kind of f'ed up question is that?


Its been known for years that newspapers just push an agenda, started back with hearst saying he can get a man elected of kicked out of office by simple articles to hit the most negative points.

Newspapers should always tell the truth but they need to start being fair and admit that both sides have been lying to the people for years.
 
2012-01-12 02:57:03 PM  
Judith Miller taught me everything I need to know about the Jerusalem Post New York Times.
 
2012-01-12 02:59:27 PM  

liam76: poot_rootbeer: A reporter cannot determine whether Clarence Thomas "misunderstood" a financial disclosure form or intentionally provided misleading information, without access to the interior of Mr. Thomas' mind.

No they can't, but they can report how complicated the form is and let the reader decide.


Sorry, but they can't do that either. The complexity of the form is relative, so anything other than what the form actually requires is opinion and should be left out of the report.
 
2012-01-12 03:00:23 PM  
I was prepared to be outraged, but after reading TFA, I understand where the editor is coming from, even if I still think that they should be more oriented towards truth-revelation.

First of all, the newspaper lets its editorial people (he mentions Krugman) make these kinds of determinations. The news articles just report what someone says. In that sense, the newspaper is already fact checking, just not in new articles themselves.

But the problem is that politicians and anyone who uses the media to project a message have gotten savvy to the fact that reporters quote them. So, if I have a batshiat insane point to espouse, I make sure a reporter quotes me directly. That gets my message out.

For example:
Let's say I think that Flying Lizards from the Planet Zorb are going to conduct a hostile takeover of Wal-Mart. I can rant and rave to people in an incoherent email, or I can weasel my way into a position where a reporter will interview me. Then I espouse my Flying Lizard insanity in an environment where the reporter is obligated to quote me directly. They do so. Now my batshiat insane claim is mainstream, along with HPV causing retardation, Obama being a foreign national, and Glenn Beck being a rapist.

The question is whether the reporter should, in the same article, indicate that "There is no evidence to support the claim that Lizards from Zorb will take over Wal-Mart."

This gets murkier in a 24 hour news environment, where you need to report something quickly to get the scoop on the other organizations. Even with Google, it may be difficult to research the claims of a politician in enough time to scoop another news organization with the story. So do you delay publishing the new article? Run with it and then do a followup? What's the right answer?

This also does not factor in the potential problem of partisan fact-checking. If one news organization uses Conservapedia to fact check their work, that's nothing like spending 3 days with access to JSTOR and other academic databases trying to determine whether person X is insane for their claims that fluoridated drinking water causes people to be docile.

It seems like, in the end, the NYTimes can't win. If they fact-check more in actual news articles, they may end up being labeled partisan. If they don't, they are labeled stupid because they give pass to the whackjobs.

Since we all live in a world where ideology informs facts, there is no winning strategy for the New York Times. News has become the game where it is best not to play.
 
2012-01-12 03:03:21 PM  
NYT, if you're not prepared to report the truth as best you can, stop talking. I'll simply continuing to get my news from The Daily Show. Really, I don't mind.
 
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