Libel in haste, correct at leisure

The New York Times at first refused to correct or retract its error-ridden hatchet job on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), except for the most trivial error. The NYT bureau chief wrote:

Happy to consider any mistakes they point out, and we are looking at those. But I’m not seeing a need for any sort of retraction.

They are starting to figure it out now, having finally issued two substantiative retractions:

An article on Aug. 15 about Representative Darrell Issa’s business dealings, using erroneous information that Mr. Issa’s family foundation filed with the Internal Revenue Service, referred incorrectly to his sale of an AIM mutual fund in 2008. . . The purchase of the mutual fund resulted in a $125,000 loss, not a $357,000 gain.

Oops.

And the article . . . misstated the purchase price for a medical office plaza Mr. Issa’s company bought in Vista, Calif., in 2008. . . Therefore the value of the property remained essentially unchanged, and did not rise 60 percent after Mr. Issa secured federal funding to widen a road alongside the plaza.

Oops again.

Several other major errors remain uncorrected, so we’ll probably see some corrections dribble out in the coming days. But the value of a correction drops dramatically over time, as the correction becomes less and less likely to reach the same people that saw the original misinformation. They make it less likely still to reach the right people when they tuck the correction away in the back pages of the paper .

Which is all pretty much what they intend, I imagine.

(Via Power Line.)

UPDATE: The NYT is standing firm on the Toyota error and the golf course error. (Actually, since they have had the opportunity to correct and have chosen not to, we can call them lies now.) More on the golf course here.

(Previous post.)

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