Trying and trying to persuade the New York Times to correct egregious errors

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. When it comes to covering abortion, errors fall like autumn leaves from the Establishment Media. Or, to switch metaphors, there is a perennial outpouring of error, misleading inferences, and falsehoods.

The following is four years old, but it is (alas) an evergreen. The story addressed what you can’t help suspect was a deliberate distortion, in the first instance, and for sure know was an ongoing malicious distortion, because the New York Times refused to correct it. The “it,” in this case, is a narrative—that the famous uncover videos taken by the Center for Medical Progress were “selectively edited”—that has served as the backbone of Planned Parenthood’s defense against the indefensible.

A tip of the cap to the always insightful Getreligion site. If you go to getreligion.org, you’ll read of a valiant (and ongoing) attempt to correct blatant media bias.

GetReligion’s editor, Terry Mattingly, traces the patient efforts of Molly Hemingway (now of The Federalist) to persuade/convince/cajole the New York Times to correct a hugely important error in a story that (because it was not corrected quickly) has spread through the newspaper.

What was the error?

The story included this sentence: “Mr. Daleiden released what he called the full recording last week after Planned Parenthood complained of selective, misleading editing.”

“Mr. Daleiden” is David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress which to date has released two explosive videos showing two Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the going price for intact baby body parts and possibly using a “less crunchy [abortion] technique” so as to secure intact heads, livers, lung, hearts, etc., etc. etc.

On July 20, Ms. Hemingway explained what’s wrong in a short note to Times’ editors asking for a correction:

This is completely in error. The full recording was released 21 seconds after the edited version, according to YouTube records, many hours before Planned Parenthood tried the public relations spin accepted by some reporters. …

Two days later, she referenced a different story whose offending passage was worse: “The full video of the lunch meeting, over two hours long and released by the Center for Medical Progress after complaints by Planned Parenthood, shows something very different from what these critics claim.”

Ms. Hemingway, in asking for a correction, wrote

Leaving aside the opinion portion of this phrase, at least one factual claim here is in error. The full recording was released 21 seconds after the edited version, according to YouTube records, many hours before Planned Parenthood tried the public relations spin accepted by some reporters.

Douglas Johnson, [then] NRLC Federal Legislation Director, recently wrote a fine piece explaining his many and varied attempts to get the Times to correct clear-cut errors. The headline captures what he was able to finally able to squeeze out of the Times: “New York Times Runs Constricted Correction on Abortion.”

Back to the latest Times’ error. The newspaper will be even more reluctant to provide even a “constricted correction” because the “error” (I think by now it needs to be put in quotation marks) serves the paper’s narrative: shifty pro-lifers who put out something that was misleading and only when the forces of good (aka Planned Parenthood) called these reprobates out did they reluctantly provide a true account.

Of course, this is totally false, but, if you’re the New York Times, who cares? A lie serves its purposes, the truth does not.