Roger’s Rules

Corrections at the NY Times

Under the title “The Times Does Theology,” the folks at Powerline have a post commenting on a recent Correction in The New York Times:

I always thought the New York Times’ pontifications on political and cultural subjects were a bit arrogant, but the paper has now extended its alleged omnicompetence to the realm of theology. From this morning’s Corrections section:

A headline last Sunday about a Muslim man and an Orthodox Jewish woman who are partners in two Dunkin’ Donuts stores described their religions incorrectly. The two faiths worship the same God — not different ones.

The underlying theological question is an interesting one on which I have no opinion. I doubt, though, that the Times’ pronouncement has ended the controversy.

Indeed, the Corrections page of the Times is worth scrutinizing. It is often as amusing as it is instructive to see what sorts of errors and inaccuracies our Paper of Record perpetrates which it is then called upon to correct. There is a discernible pattern to the mistakes. Earlier this year, for example, the Times reported that it had erroneously described the American Jewish Committee as a “conservative advocacy group.” In fact, the Times conceded, the AJC’s stance on issues “ranges across the political spectrum; it is not “conservative.'” Noted. And then there was the delicious correction that appeared in January 2007 about a story that appeared in April 2006 about a woman in El Salvador who received a thirty-year jail sentence for, according to the Times, having a clandestine abortion. In fact, the paper finally acknowledged, the court record revealed that the woman in question was given the thirty-year sentence for homicide. Right. It reminds me of an item from an unnamed American newspaper that the artist Edward Burne-Jones reported to one of his correspondents: “Instead of being arrested, as we stated, for kicking his wife down a flight of stairs and hurling a lighted kerosene lamp after her, the revd. James P. Wellman died unmarried four years ago.”