Much has been made of the fact that, since hiring Blair in 1998, the Times has run 50 corrections on his stories. Raines, in fact, has said that the young reporter was admonished in a performance report that he had committed an excessive number of mistakes. A number of publications, including this one, have conducted computer searches to see how Blair's error rate compared to that of his colleagues. The Weekly Standard, for example, compares Blair's record to that of senior Times correspondents R.W. Apple and Adam Clymer over the same period of time. Blair had an error rate of 6.9%, less than half Apple's rate of 14% (46 corrections on 327 stories) and almost a third lower than Clymer's rate of 9% (36 corrections on 400 stories). (Since January 2002, this columnist has had an error rate of about 10%, 12 mistakes in 116 stories and columns.)
The big questions is: Which kind of corrections?
If the correction is simply an update on a spelling error caused by faulty police records, the correction is inconsequential.
On the other hand, if the correction involves made up quotes and other fabrications, then the correction is a sign of incompetence and dishonesty.
The NY Times has a lousy system if it cannot distinguish between Blairs correction record and Clymers correction record.