Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Bomb and Us: Is NYT Recruiting from WWN? (with a New Foreword)

(It is my policy not to change content after I post (I do correct spelling errors, poor grammar and the like when I notice them), but I feel compelled to add that, to quote my favorite Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, Dave Barry, I did not make it up: NYT excised the line that "officials pushed for tough sanctions and raised the possibility of military action, which China called unthinkable", while otherwise amplifying the article as a whole. The Shiozaki quote is still there.)

I, of course, do not see this as a coverup; stories can be, and are, rewritten in subsequent editions in all honesty as more information becomes available. I have no reason to doubt that this was the case here. However, I urge that NYT, as well as all other respectable news outlets (pay attention to me, everybody, you hear?), maintain public access to older versions of a story, if only to avoid confusion as people quote different versions of the same URL. The mainstream media should exercise a little more care than devil-may-care bloggers like yours truly.

The irony here is that there actually could be some truth to the assertion, if you consider boarding and inspecting a vessel on the high seas under a UNSC Chapter 7 resolution to be "military action". In fact, the Japanese authorities would be remiss if they did not at least consider such a resolution, if only to work out the practical implications, just in case. To that extent, the orginal article was technically correct, and I was willing to offer an apology of sorts in that respect. But since the original article is gone... In any case, my thumb tells me that such a resolution is not going to happen in the near future.

"Japanese officials pushed for tough sanctions and raised the possibility of military action, which China called unthinkable."

They make this up from this: "And Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yasuhisa Shiozaki, declared today that his government was considering "all possibilities,"while officials in China and South Korea were saying that they would oppose any use of force.

"A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said at a briefing today that 'taking military action against North Korea would be unimaginable.'"

Not that NYT is saying one is a response to the other. But see how they put two unrelated quotes together by paraphrasing the second quote and jamming it up against the first one? I have to remember this trick. I don't think I've seen it before. Clever, if somewhat transparent.

WWN=World Weekly News. Three guesses for NYT. Calvin, are these guys really your colleagues?

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