Friday, August 7, 2009

Eight wrongs don't make a right

Came across this little beauty in the UK-based Times Online about the New York Times' error-riddled obituary of Walter Cronkite. The correction, one of history's longest and, as the Times Online notes, frankest, read as follows:
An appraisal on Saturday about Walter Cronkite’s career included a number of errors. In some copies, it misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkite’s coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. “The CBS Evening News” overtook “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondents’ reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of “The CBS Evening News” in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor. Because of an editing error, the appraisal also misstated the name of the news agency for which Mr. Cronkite was Moscow bureau chief after World War II. At that time it was United Press, not United Press International.

It was so bad that the paper's public editor felt obligated to write an op-ed, "How Did This Happen?" Well worth reading...particularly by the Times staffers.

But wait, there's more! From Gawker, which has apparently been beating on Alessandra Stanley for years: Play-By-Play: The Self-Loathing NYT's Ultimate Alessandra Stanley Flogging


  1. Yeesh--you'd think just one such error would be enough for a severe tongue lashing... imagine all that? What kind of half-arsed research did those people do? Probably took the first Google item to come up as fact and then left for home at 4:45.

  2. The part that made me laugh out loud was Alessandra Stanley being described as "much admired by editors for the intellectual heft of her coverage of television." I mean, really. Really?

    From what I've seen, Stanley is a political hack who injects her personal views into places where it doesn't belong. But then again, that's The New York Times M.O. (Disclosure: NYT was my first employer in the "real world.")

  3. And newspapers wonder why readers are leaving in droves? You can blame Craigslist, but a complete lack of quality control doesn't help.