1999-2010

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New York Times splits hairs, avoids correction

Dear Reader:
I am the corrections editor for the Metro department of The Times. Your e-mail was forwarded to me for review….


Earlier this week, The New York Times made at least one big mistake in an article about New York Post columnist Cindy Adams:

“Reporters from Variety, 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'A Current Affair' might be expected to remain corralled behind a length of velvet rope, but at a recent premiere for 'Inside Man' at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown, Mrs. Adams curtly rebuffed a perky film publicist who had asked her to join the salivating pack...”

A Current Affair was canceled in October 2005, so there’s no way one of its reporters was behind that velvet rope. Additionally, A Current Affair was regularly denied access to celebrity red carpet lines, because it did real tabloid entertainment journalism and refused to regurgitate studio pap and myths, like ET. So you'd figure the Times would at least cop to placing a nonexistent reporter at the scene, no?

We asked the Times for a correction, and were pleasantly surprised when, in small-town, old school fashion, the paper actually responded to our request.

Through some big city hair-splitting, however, they found a way to avoid a correction:

Dear Reader:

I am the corrections editor for the Metro department of The Times. Your e-mail was forwarded to me for review.

You are correct in noting that "A Current Affair" has been canceled. However, the article does not say that a reporter for "A Current Affair" was at the premiere of "Inside Man."

The paragraph in question reads:

"Reporters from Variety, 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'A Current Affair' might be expected to remain corralled behind a length of velvet rope, but at a recent premiere for "Inside Man" at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown, Mrs. Adams curtly rebuffed a perky film publicist who had asked her to join the salivating pack."

The first part of this sentence is written in the conditional tense; it means that at red-carpet events like the premiere, those reporters would probably stay behind the velvet rope. The second part goes on to describe what happened at this particular premiere.

Thank you for writing.


Karin Roberts
Assistant to the Metropolitan Editor
The New York Times


Legit response or Geraldogate II? You be the judge…

6 comments:

will said...

i dunno, i think that's pretty legit. i'm with the times on this one (god help me).

Anonymous said...

The bigger problem with the piece is why the Times insists on referring to Cindy Adams as a gossip columnist. If anything, she just regurgitates odd celebrity tidbits and stray sentences from her "interviews" with stars. That's not gossip.

She's such a has-been that no one in the industry takes her seriously. She's considered the "geriatric Liz Smith"...

Anonymous said...

Um that's a hard one, but points for noting the correction and getting a response though they did mean it in the hypothetical sense.

Anonymous said...

So if we follow this logic through, basically the Times is saying "Yes, our references are outdated, confusing and stale, but they're not technically inaccurate when we make 'em hypothetical. We couldn't possibly be expected to list three viable, current media outlets for this item. We're on deadline you know. Just thank your lucky stars we didn't cite reporter Lou Loudrock from "The Flintstone Free Press."

KateCoe said...

What's sad is Karin has a degree from Northwestern and this is as close as she gets to being a real journalist. I guess reporters fomr the Washington Star and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner would have been behind the rope, if those papers were still around. And where would Truman Capote me, if he wasn't dead?

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