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Several of the punctuation marks were correct

There have been those who argued that blogs are inferior to traditional media because blogs aren't subject to the same standards that newspapers or magazines are. Blogs, the theory goes, don't have editors, so sloppy and misleading stories get published without the appropriate level of fact checking that editors provide. Anybody who believes that should read this appalling article-length correction in today's New York Times. The original story was so wrong that one has to wonder whether it was something left lying around Jayson Blair's desk before he quit.

From the correction:

A loan dispute between Prudential Securities and TVT Records, one of the nation's largest independent record companies, has had no impact on the control or management of TVT Records by its founder and president, Steven Gottlieb.

In a profile of Mr. Gottlieb last Monday, The New York Times reported incorrectly that Mr. Gottlieb had defaulted on a $23.5 million loan and that as a result, in February he had lost control of his company, officially called TeeVee Toons Inc., to Prudential.

In fact Mr. Gottlieb was never personally responsible for the defaulted loan and remains in full control of his company. Even if Prudential were to prevail in the dispute, which is still pending in court, its remedies would be limited to seizing certain music royalty rights that TeeVee Toons transferred in 1999 to an affiliated company called TVT Catalog Enterprises. Prudential has no claim to TVT Records itself and therefore would not be in a position to sell the company, as the article reported.

In short, they described something as already having happened as a result of a lawsuit, when in fact it hadn't happened at all, and couldn't happen as a result of the suit.

And it goes on. The Times described him as litigious; they had to take it back. The Times quoted his opponents in litigation without realizing that those people might have an agenda. The Times describes him as having sued people he hadn't sued. The Times described him as releasing albums he hadn't released. The Times described a suit as frivolous with no basis for that description, but citing yet another of its infamous anonymous sources ("People close to the case."). The Times reports that a contract was signed months before it actually was signed. The Times describes the songs as old when they weren't.

I guess the Times does get points for admitting the errors -- unusually, for them -- but that's like giving the surgeon who amputated the wrong leg credit for reattaching it. Let's wait and see what happens to Lynette Holloway, who wrote the original story. If her byline continues to appear regularly, we'll know that the recent spate of accountability at the Times is just for show.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 14, 2003 5:23 PM.

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