Like most MSM journalist the Raleigh News & Observer's public editor Ted Vaden admires the New York Times.
In his column today Vaden tells N&O readers:
[The New York Times] "is scrupulous to the point of anal about correcting errors."
Vaden's wrong. Not only is the Times not scrupulous about correcting errors, it often takes considerable public exposure and pressure before it corrects some of its most obvious and grossest errors.
Take, for example, the Times' failure last October to report President Bush's bestowel of the Congressional Medal of Honor (posthumous) on Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, and consider just some of the public exposure and pressure which had to be brought to bear before the Times finally reported the story.
Last Friday, President Bush bestowed the first Medal of Honor of Operation Enduring Freedom to Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy for heroism in Afghanistan. Peter Hegseth has the details at National Review Online's military blog The Tank, from the heroic to the pathetic:
"Surrounded by over 50 Taliban fighters, Lt. Murphy's four-man reconnaissance patrol was pinned down and in need of support. In order to save his fellow SEALs, Lt. Murphy, who was already wounded, crawled into the open to radio for help, further exposing himself to enemy fire. He was killed, but only after successfully calling for help, allowing for the rescue of one of his men."The Times' tabloid rival The Post editorialized:
"But you've never heard about this if you read the New York Times. Say what you want about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are no excuses for the 'paper of record' not running this story. The Washington Post noted it, as did the Los Angeles Times. But according to the New York Times, this story of courage and sacrifice is not 'fit to print.'"
"So while Bush's announcement merited stories and appreciative editorials in The Post, The New York Sun, the Daily News and even the front page of liberal Newsday, it shouldn't be all that surprising that the Times didn't publish a single word about Murphy's well-deserved honor.From the Post's news article Saturday on the Medal of Honor hero, by Bill Sanderson and Selim Algar:
"What did the paper of record focus on yesterday? No fewer than three stories reported on how Americans had killed innocent Iraqi civilians."
Times Watch has shown the paper's past neglect of military heroes in Afghanistan and Iraq, when it was happy to devote dozens of stories to the prisoner abuses in Abu Ghraib.
"The posthumous award of the nation's highest battlefield honor to a Long Island war hero has become another black mark for the Gray Lady.
"The New York Times carried not a whisper of news yesterday about the bestowal of the Medal of Honor to Navy Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue -- the first time the honor has been given for action in Afghanistan.
"Area veterans, as well as Murphy's neighbors, were outraged -- but not all that surprised -- that the paper carried nothing about Murphy in Friday's editions, unlike The Post, The Daily News and Newsday, which all carried prominent reports and photos.
"'It's amazing that a Long Islander and a New Yorker can receive the highest commendation this country can bestow and the Times doesn't see fit to mention it -- especially on the heels of the Gen. Petraeus MoveOn.org ad,' said [New York State veteran James] Casey -- referring to the paper's decision to run a full-page ad from a liberal group containing the headline words 'General Betray Us."'
Of 20 men who were awarded the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross or the Congressional Medal of Honor, only two were recognized by the Times.
Myrna Blyth at National Review Online found irony in what the Times did find time to cover on Friday:
END Of WATERS' POST
"On Friday, the Times instead carried a story headlined 'Marines to Conduct Inquiry Into the Killings of Afghan Civilians.' This story was about a court of inquiry being set up to examine the circumstances surrounding the killing of several Afghan civilians by members of a special-operations platoon, in a remote area of Afghanistan, near the border of Pakistan. Some of the Marines involved, who are an elite group of combat-tested troops, are now, of course, hiring their lawyers.
"There is a very special irony is this. Why? Because Mikey Murphy and his three SEAL comrades, during their operation, were concerned about the potential of a story just like the one in the Times. They wanted to avoid a situation in which they would find themselves forced to defend a life saving action in a court of law."
After days of urging, the Times finally published a story on Lt. Murphy which you can read here.
Message to Clay Waters: Your excellent Oct. 15 post helped expose the Times' failure to report on Lt. Murphy and no doubt was a factor in the Times' decision to finally run a story a week later.
Thanks for your contribution to that and for the fine day-to-day work you do at Times Watch. It can't be easy watching the Times.
There must be many days you wince or gag; and some days maybe both.