NYT Reporting [Was: Vietnam and What else Blumenthal said]

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Fri May 21 13:47:51 UTC 2010

The fact is that he did NOT "lie." It is not even clear that he deceived anyone, even unintentionally. The newspaper took a possible ambiguity and called it a lie. That is yellow journalism. That is wrong.

As for the swimming captain bullshit, the reportage is akin to asking, "When did you stop beating your wife?" and then pleading "I never actually accused you of beating your wife." Again, slanderous,  irresponsible journalism.
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-----Original Message-----
From: "David A. Daniel" <dad at POKERWIZ.COM>
Date:         Fri, 21 May 2010 10:30:58
Subject:      [ADS-L] NYT Reporting [Was: Vietnam and What else Blumenthal said]

The subjects of Vietnam and swimming certainly generated interesting
threads, and yet I don't really see why. Nor do I see why the NYT should be
chopping heads. It all seems pretty straight forward, to wit:

1 - The NYT said Blumenthal misrepresented his military service, and he did.
The fact that he didn't ALWAYS misrepresent it is irrelevant. As Leno put it
last night: "Now the Blumenthal campaign says he only lied four times,
that's what we're down to".

2 - The NYT said that Blumenthal was reported to have been the captain of
the Harvard swim team when he never was. In fact, it had been so reported
and, in fact, he never was captain. The NYT also said that Blumenthal told
them he had never said that and did not know how that story got started,
i.e., they published his side of it. The Hartford Courant says all the same
things as the NYT and has now published a correction of its previous reports
about Blumenthal having been captain.

3 - The NYT says there is no record that Blumenthal was ever on the swim
team. The Hartford Courant also says there is no record that he was on the
swim team, except for some pictures from his freshman year that show that he
was "at least associated" with the swim team that year. But the guy who sent
them the pictures said, "However, if Blumenthal was on the Harvard swim
team, he is not included in the team's group yearbook photo that year". The
Courant also says they found a guy who remembers Blumenthal being on the
team, year not specified. In any case "no record at the college" seems to be

Now, to the linguistically relevant part of this: The only mistake I see
from the NYT is when they said, "Records at the college show that he was
never on the team". That sounds very active and definitive, like there is
something concrete they found that indicates he was never on the team. As
editor, I would have corrected that to: "So and so at the college said there
are no records that he was ever on the team". That is a more passive
approach that puts the onus on the college rather than on the reporting. If
something pops up later, it was the college's fault. Leaves the NYT some
wiggle room.

But, since the facts were straight, no head-rolling called for that I see.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
victor steinbok
Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 12:43 AM
Subject: Re: What else Blumenthal said

Re: What else Blumenthal said

.More proof that NYT has become an embarrassment.


Hartford Courant put the kibosh on that story as well.

To me, this is rather conclusive evidence that the NYT reporters took
oppo research from the McMahon campaign and published it virtually
unfiltered--and unchecked. Will heads roll? Doubtful. Aside from the
Blair affair, NYT has always resisted removal of screw-ups. It took
them nearly six years to rectify the WMD problem.


On Thu, May 20, 2010 at 10:16 PM, Dan Goodman <dsgood at iphouse.com> wrote:
> He's also reported to have said twice that he was captain of the Harvard
> swim team.  Which, according to reports, he was never a member of -- let
> alone captain.
> --
> Dan Goodman

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