New York Times Issues ‘Correction of The Year’ on Pay-To-Slay
The New York Times has issued what the Israeli consul general in New York, Dani Dayan, is calling the “correction of the year.”
In the correction, the Times backs down from its claim in a news article that reporting about Palestinian payments to families of terrorists is “far-right conspiracy programming.”
In the correction, the Times wrote:
An article on Sunday about Campbell Brown’s role as Facebook’s head of news partnerships erroneously included a reference to Palestinian actions as an example of the sort of far-right conspiracy stories that have plagued Facebook. In fact, Palestinian officials have acknowledged providing payments to the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis or convicted of terrorist acts and imprisoned in Israel; that is not a conspiracy theory.
The Times back-down attracted some public reaction in addition to Ambassador Dayan’s description of it as “correction of the year.” An editor at the New York Post, Seth Mandel, commented, “Amazing. Basically all NYT stories on Israel and Judaism are incomplete until the correction is posted.”
A former Israeli diplomat, Lenny Ben-David, noted that the correction “may be seen by 1% of those who read [the] original article.”
The Times original claim had provoked a furor, as The Algemeiner reported. The article had read: “Ms. Brown wants to use Facebook’s existing Watch product — a service introduced in 2017 as a premium product with more curation that has nonetheless been flooded with far-right conspiracy programming like ‘Palestinians Pay $400 Million Pensions For Terrorist Families’ — to be a breaking news destination.”
Liel Leibowitz wrote in Tablet that only the article’s author “and her editors may know whether it was malice or sheer incompetence that stopped her from looking up a simple fact before presenting it as an ideologically tainted conspiracy theory.”
As David Gerstman put it at the web site Legal Insurrection, “a throwaway line in a technology story shows the deep corruption plaguing America’s major newspapers when it comes to reporting on the Middle East.” The editor of Commentary, John Podhoretz, called it, “a humiliating and disgraceful error.”
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America had also complained about the original Times article and requested the correction.
This correction is the latest in a long series of cases in which the Times has had to correct its coverage involving basic facts of the Arab-Israeli conflict or Judaism. Other frequent errors are left uncorrected.
More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.