By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
When the New York Times sees a gaffe made on Fox News, it blasts the network in article after article, in this case at least three times, but when its own reporters make basic fact-checking mistakes, the paper’s readers receive casual notice at the bottom of an article.
In some editions of the Times, Stephen Castle and Robert Mackey misidentified the parent company of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch’s title at News Corporation, and “paraphrased incorrectly in some editions” Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter comments. That’s three errors in one article.
These errors were in an article criticizing Steven Emerson, a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi and Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, who mistakenly said that “[A]nd in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”
Emerson retracted his statement, saying that he “clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry,” and Fox News issued an on-air apology regarding the incident. Emerson even made a donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Will The New York Times make similar donations on behalf of its numerous errors in the Castle and Mackey article?
Writers for the Times didn’t hold back: “Maybe if these ‘journalists’ left their bubble and actually talked to more Muslims, they wouldn’t spew nonsense—such as that Pakistan is an Arab country or that Birmingham, England, is entirely Muslim and a no-go area for Christians,” wrote Nicholas Kristof for the Times. “That paranoid claim by a Fox News ‘expert,’ later retracted, led wags to suggest that the city had renamed itself Birming, since Muslims avoid ham.”
The New York Times repeatedly labeled Emerson a “self-described expert on Islamist terrorism.” Investigative reporter Gary Weiss, in an outstanding blog post on this controversy, noted, “When you call someone a ‘self-described expert’ it’s a bit like calling someone a ‘self-described doctor.’…He or she is a phony.”
Weiss suggested that Kristof was perhaps carrying a grudge against Emerson for an article years earlier in which “Emerson raked [Kristof] over the coals for a column that criticized the U.S. and Israel for isolating the Hamas terror group.
But as Weiss pointed out, the late New York Times managing editor A.M. Rosenthal called Emerson “one of the nation’s best national security correspondents” whose “investigative work on radical Islamic fundamentalism is absolutely critical to this nation’s national security. There is no one else who has exhibited the same expertise, courage and determination to tackle this vital issue.” And Weiss cited other examples of praise for Emerson on the pages of the Times: “In this article in the Times in 1988,” wrote Weiss, “veteran Times reporters Martin Tolchin and Richard Halloran described Emerson as ‘an expert on intelligence.’”
But the Times are a-changing.
Times executive editor Dean Baquet has announced that the paper won’t publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons “primarily” because doing so might offend its Muslim readers.
While Emerson clearly was wrong on the specifics of what he said, he was referring to the undeniably expanding Islamization occurring in parts of Europe. This news story from CBN in 2010 captured this very real phenomenon, which does exist, and continues to grow.