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Ed Driscoll

Don’t Ever Change, New York Times

April 7th, 2014 - 4:59 pm

“‘NYT’ Alters Ezra Klein Quote from ‘WaPo’ Criticism to Slam on Industry,” Warner Tood Huston notes at Big Journalism:

On Sunday evening, the NYT published a piece about Klein’s jump from the Post to his new Vox.com’s “explanatory journalism” news site. In the first piece, writer Leslie Kaufman quoted Klein as saying that the Post was somehow keeping him from doing journalism correctly, which was one reason he left print media:

“We were badly held back not just by the technology, but by the culture of journalism there,” he said of the Post, as he offered a preview of his new site, Vox.com, which was scheduled to launch Sunday night.

But by Monday morning, that quote slamming the Post was softened considerably and given a new direction:

“We were badly held back not just by the technology, but by the culture of journalism,” he said of daily newspapers, as he offered a preview of his new site, Vox.com, which was scheduled to be introduced Sunday night.

Clearly, the quote morphed from one specifically faulting The Washington Post for its policies to a more general criticism of the newspaper industry as a whole.

There is no way to tell, of course, but either the The New York Times misquoted Ezra Klein in the first place on being “badly held back” at The Washington Post, or Klein changed his mind and wanted his quote to be read as a broad critique of the whole newspaper industry, instead of one solely directed at the Post, and the Times bent to his will after the fact.

Whatever happened, readers got the changed quote, with no explanation of why the change was made at the Times website.

Ever since current editor Jill Abramson famously said in 2011, “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.” — only to have that quote airbrushed out hours later, it seems like the Times’ touch-up artists have gone into overdrive, removing doubleplusungood crimethink remarks, even after they’ve been quoted by dozens of blogs and Websites before the Gray Lady has tossed the original quote down the Memory Hole:

But then, with the second PJM/New Criterion Duranty Awards coming up next month in New York, perhaps the Times simply wants to relive the good old days when they could airbrush with impunity.

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