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The New York Times Is Still Dead
The Conning Tower ^ | August 15, 2003 | Trentino

Posted on 08/15/2003 9:48:38 AM PDT by Davis

On Thursday, August 7 at the end of a column of miscellaneous corrections, the New York Times published this small bombshell:

Editors' Note An article on Sunday about attacks on the American military in Iraq over the previous two days, attributed to military officials, included an erroneous account that quoted Pfc. Jose Belen of the First Armored Division. Private Belen, who is not a spokesman for the division, said that a homemade bomb exploded under a convoy on Saturday morning on the outskirts of Baghdad and killed two American soldiers and their interpreter. The American military's central command, which releases information on all American casualties in Iraq, said before the article was published that it could not confirm Private Belen's account. Later it said that no such attack had taken place and that no American soldiers were killed on Saturday. Repeated efforts by The Times to reach Private Belen this week have been unsuccessful. The Times should not have attributed the account to "military officials," and should have reported that the command had not verified the attack.

Please note that the Times calls this an "erroneous account." Does the Times mean by this to call into question the existence of the single source it identifies, one Pfc. Jose Belen of the 1st Armored Division? Is the Times suggesting that Pfc. Belen made up this erroneous story? Or did its reporter create Pfc. Belen and the story?

A week has gone by since this Editor's Note was published. I've checked the Times assiduously since then but I have found no further mention of the elusive Pfc. Belen, so I conclude that all the vast resources of the Times have been unequal to the task of finding him. One would have thought that by now a crack reporter of unimpeachable integrity, Murine Drowd or Frank Rich--or equivalent, if such there be--would have been put in charge of the case and swiftly got to the bottom of it. Alas, to the best of my knowledge and belief, that hasn't happened.

So, we are left standing hip deep in a quandary. Was there actually a wily Pfc. Belen who duped a NYTimes reporter? If there was a Pfc. Belen, why didn't the reporter note his particular unit, battalion, company, platoon? Why didn't the reporter seek verification of the event from one of Pfc. Belen's comrades in arms or, heaven forfend, his commanding officer?

The Times's Editor's Note doesn't make clear why this erroneous account escaped the attention of an editor in New York. It wasn't picked up for days. How come? Is there something about the culture in the Times organization that makes such erroneous accounts worthy of publication?

One may reasonably speculate that the political climate of the Times newsroom is affected by the Times editorial stance. How handy to be able to scoop Centcom on the death of two soldiers and their interpreter! Doesn't that give credence to the Times's anti-war, pro-quagmire position? Doesn't it lend veracity to the Times's anti-military culture?

Of course, if your newsroom is undiversified, staffed only with people who despise the military, who find it crude and disgusting, its officers brutes and simpletons, you may do well covering musical comedies but you're going to run into trouble covering wars. Your editors are likely to be taken in by a fabulist. If tall tales from short privates place the object of their scorn in a bad light, your reporters will tend not to bother to check them out with his comrades and officers, and your editors will let it pass. Lacking this valuable diversity, not the irrelevant, dishonorable racist nonsense of a sprinkling of black faces, your reporters are likely to lie about an informant's low rank, his lack of authority, and attempt to disguise it by referring to a lone private as "military officials."

Any newspaper is bound to make mistakes. The mistakes involved here are serious. They are a symptom of mortal illness at the Times. The Editor's Note is inadequate. It glosses over deep problems of truthfulness and responsibility, even patriotism. Coming on the heels of the Jayson Blair affair and a noticeable dip in Times circulation, it is ominous.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: correction; errors; falsification; jaysonblair; mediabias; mediafraud; medialies; newyorktimes; nyt; nytschadenfreude; retraction; schadenfreude; shamelessblogplug; thenewyorktimes

1 posted on 08/15/2003 9:48:39 AM PDT by Davis
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To: Davis
To follow links in this piece, click here
2 posted on 08/15/2003 9:50:17 AM PDT by Davis
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To: Davis
Good post. Thanks.
3 posted on 08/15/2003 9:53:19 AM PDT by Bahbah
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To: Davis
The problem is rooted in the culture of the liberal business.
4 posted on 08/15/2003 9:56:09 AM PDT by bmwcyle (Here's to Hillary's book sinking like the Clinton 2000 economy)
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To: Davis
Just shut up! We're the rat media. Whatever we say IS the truth. IF we happen to make a mistake and we issue a correction consider yourselves lucky but; genuine apologies? Forget it!
5 posted on 08/15/2003 9:59:46 AM PDT by jmaroneps37
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To: Davis

6 posted on 08/15/2003 10:06:40 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
Wonderful!
7 posted on 08/15/2003 10:07:51 AM PDT by Davis
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To: Davis
Great catch! Does anyone here know how to send this to Kurtz at the Wash. Post., Rush, and O'Reilly?
8 posted on 08/15/2003 10:08:22 AM PDT by wildbill
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To: Davis; Mr. Mulliner
Ping.

9 posted on 08/15/2003 11:12:33 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The everyday blessings of God are great--they just don't make "good copy.")
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Here are the missing links:

http://www.atrentino.com/DingDong.html

http://www.atrentino.com/NewspaperDaze.html

10 posted on 08/15/2003 12:09:00 PM PDT by hrhdave
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To: Davis
I had a hearty laugh when I first came across this story. The Times staff is so ignorant of military matters--I doubt that there's a day's worth of military service among the entire editorial staff--that they could not recognize that a private (a private!) could be speaking for a division. A division is so large that it is commanded by a major (two-star) general. A spokesman for such a unit would not of a lower rank than a lieutenant colonel. What ignorance!
11 posted on 08/15/2003 12:28:39 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: OldPossum
A little awkwardness in one part of my previous post: "they could not realize that a private (a private!) could NOT be speaking..."
12 posted on 08/15/2003 12:31:58 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: OldPossum
There is plenty of reason to believe that Pfc. Jose Belen exists solely in the mind of the NYTimes reporter. If that's the case, no wonder all the Times' horses and all the Times' men couldn't find Private Jose Belen.

Has the reporter been fired? Has the editor who cleared his report been fired? Only Bill Keller knows.
13 posted on 08/15/2003 12:41:05 PM PDT by hrhdave
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To: Grampa Dave; martin_fierro; Timesink; onyx; Flurry
Check out the cartoon strip -- post #6 above.
14 posted on 08/15/2003 2:19:19 PM PDT by Liz
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To: Dog Gone
Excellent.
15 posted on 08/15/2003 2:24:48 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy ("Smoke Gnatzies" , I swat em.)
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To: Flurry
Then you'll like the one from a few days before:


16 posted on 08/15/2003 2:28:39 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
I need to get access to this it is funny.
17 posted on 08/15/2003 2:36:07 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy ("Smoke Gnatzies" , I swat em.)
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To: Flurry
It's my favorite comic strip right now. It's usually not political, but it's often ROFL. I posted today's strip on another thread.
18 posted on 08/15/2003 2:41:24 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: martin_fierro; reformed_democrat; Loyalist; =Intervention=; PianoMan; GOPJ; Miss Marple; Tamsey; ...

Schadenfreude

This is the New York Times Schadenfreude Ping List. Freepmail me to be added or dropped.


19 posted on 08/15/2003 2:44:07 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Liz
Thanks for the ping, Liz!
20 posted on 08/15/2003 2:46:41 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Dog Gone
It is good. I used to have an interoffice cartoon series when I was younger working for huge company. Someday I'll have the time to pursue it and my , 1st Dog Buddy's Diary "Living Hell".
21 posted on 08/15/2003 2:49:44 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy ("Smoke Gnatzies" , I swat em.)
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To: Davis
Now I understand why their reporters are liberal zombies. They're Still Dead!
22 posted on 08/15/2003 3:13:00 PM PDT by .cnI redruM ("My Glass is Gettin' Shorter, On Some WHiskey and Some Water" - AC/DC)
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To: Davis
Or did its reporter create Pfc. Belen and the story?

&&

More likely scenario.
23 posted on 08/15/2003 4:49:03 PM PDT by Bigg Red
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To: Timesink
bttt
24 posted on 08/15/2003 6:47:49 PM PDT by lainde
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To: Davis
Thanks for the post. It is obvious that you are not the rotten governor of California, Grayout Davis.
25 posted on 08/16/2003 8:58:31 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Gray Davis = Bill Clinton without the conscience + Al Gore without the charm = Total Recall Time!)
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To: Davis
Good.
26 posted on 08/16/2003 8:59:21 AM PDT by madison10
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To: Dog Gone
This is a classic, and I will use it whenever a phoney conservative on Free Republic posts an article from the NY Slimes to tray and harm our President or to make our troops look bad.


27 posted on 08/16/2003 9:01:18 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Gray Davis = Bill Clinton without the conscience + Al Gore without the charm = Total Recall Time!)
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To: Liz
Thanks I have borrowed this cartoon for the duration!


28 posted on 08/16/2003 9:03:36 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Gray Davis = Bill Clinton without the conscience + Al Gore without the charm = Total Recall Time!)
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To: wildbill
I saw Brit Hume comment on this story in his "Grapevine" section of Special Report earlier in the week. I couldn't believe no other media outlet was reporting it. They sure did report the eroneous deaths round the clock.
29 posted on 08/16/2003 9:03:57 AM PDT by Republican Red
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To: Dog Gone; MeeknMing
Wow! Two great winners in one thread, way to go.

Richard please store both of these great cartoons on your server. They are priceless!


30 posted on 08/16/2003 9:07:31 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Gray Davis = Bill Clinton without the conscience + Al Gore without the charm = Total Recall Time!)
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To: Davis
Tried to do the NY Times Crossword puzzle last week for the first time in years.

Even THERE it's a total self-referential circle jerk. For the word "d-o-g", the clue was "the Clinton's buddy, e.g.". Many of the clues could only have been pulled from the "Arts & Leisure" section.

Not to pile on, but these NYT people have their heads so far up their own @$$, they're having a smell-fest.
31 posted on 08/16/2003 9:09:24 AM PDT by P.O.E.
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To: Grampa Dave
Great ones, Grampa ! Thanks. Well tuck those two away ! ...

32 posted on 08/16/2003 10:37:28 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Check out the Texas Chicken D 'RATS!: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/keyword/Redistricting)
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To: MeeknMing
bttt
33 posted on 08/17/2003 12:16:50 PM PDT by Davis
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thought you would find this thread interesting.

On Thursday, August 7 at the end of a column of miscellaneous corrections, the New York Times published this small bombshell:

Editors' Note An article on Sunday about attacks on the American military in Iraq over the previous two days, attributed to military officials, included an erroneous account that quoted Pfc. Jose Belen of the First Armored Division. Private Belen, who is not a spokesman for the division, said that a homemade bomb exploded under a convoy on Saturday morning on the outskirts of Baghdad and killed two American soldiers and their interpreter. The American military's central command, which releases information on all American casualties in Iraq, said before the article was published that it could not confirm Private Belen's account. Later it said that no such attack had taken place and that no American soldiers were killed on Saturday. Repeated efforts by The Times to reach Private Belen this week have been unsuccessful. The Times should not have attributed the account to "military officials," and should have reported that the command had not verified the attack.

No wonder "Repeated efforts by The Times to reach Private Belen" have been unsuccessful. Pfc. Jose Belen is probably a non-existent "unnamed source." (Hmmm. I know what Jose means; I wonder if "Belen" means blow in some language?)

34 posted on 08/17/2003 12:32:23 PM PDT by arasina (A place is what YOU make it.)
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To: Southack
Here's a thread about the story that I found on Free Republic, different source same story.
35 posted on 08/17/2003 2:18:22 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Davis
Okay, okay ! I've got a couple more NY Slimes pics I can post, lol ! ...



36 posted on 08/17/2003 3:17:51 PM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Check out the Texas Chicken D 'RATS!: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/keyword/Redistricting)
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To: Bahbah
This related story might interest you...
37 posted on 08/17/2003 5:19:01 PM PDT by Davis
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