Does New York Times publish “fake news”? 50% respondents say YES!
Pelosi, Cummings, New York Times fall victim to fake Twitter account!
That blue checkmark on verified Twitter accounts is there for a reason.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and The New York Times learned that lesson the hard way Tuesday when all three were fooled into quoting a fake Twitter account.
The mixup arose after the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who left the White House on Monday night after revelations that he misled Vice President Pence about a December phone call Flynn had with a Russian official. Early Tuesday morning, the account @GenMikeFlynn seemingly shared the retired lieutenant general’s thoughts on his ouster.
“While I accept full responsibility for my actions, I feel it is unfair that I have been made the sole scapegoat for what happened. But if a scapegoat is what’s needed for this administration to continue to take this great nation forward, I am proud to do my duty,” the account tweeted in a pair of messages.
During a Tuesday news conference, Pelosi and Cummings used the tweets to support their case for congressional hearings on the Flynn matter.
“Madam Leader, just this morning, Flynn tweeted, and this is a quote, ‘scapegoat,’ end of quote. Scapegoat. He basically described himself as a scapegoat,” said Cummings, D-Md.
Pelosi, D-Calif., added: “I have a tweet, I’m going to make, I’m telling my staff right now – it’s not scapegoat, it’s stonewall. And that’s exactly what the Republicans in Congress are doing.”
Just one problem, of course: the account has nothing to do with the real Flynn, who uses the verified handle @GenFlynn. Flynn had not tweeted from his official account since December but appeared to be back online later Tuesday after the flap over the fake account.
Both Pelosi and Cummings later acknowledged the error.
The New York Times had also used the tweets in its story on Flynn’s resignation. The paper issued an online correction at the bottom of its report after discovering the error.
“Also, because of an editing error, an earlier version quoted three posts from an unverified Twitter account purporting to be Mr. Flynn’s, responding to the resignation,” the correction said.
Twitter users immediately lambasted the trio, with even the fake Flynn account chiming in: “The failing @nytimes, @NancyPelosi & @RepCummings issued statements based on 100% FAKE news. We expect more from our media & politicians!”
The Times has developed a national and international “reputation for thoroughness” over time. Among journalists, the paper is held in high regard; a 1999 survey of newspaper editors conducted by the Columbia Journalism Review found that the Times was the “best” American paper, ahead of the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times. The Times also was ranked #1 in a 2011 “quality” ranking of U.S. newspapers by Daniel de Vise of the Washington Post; the objective ranking took into account the number of recent Pulitzer Prizes won, circulation, and perceived Web site quality. A 2012 report in WNYC called the Times “the most respected newspaper in the world.”
Nevertheless, like many other U.S. media sources, the Times has suffered from a decline in public perceptions of credibility in the U.S. in recent years. A Pew Research Center survey in 2012 asked respondents about their views on credibility of various news organizations. Among respondents who gave a rating, 49% said that the believed “all or most” of the Times’s reporting, while 50% disagreed. A large percentage of respondents were unable to rate believability. The Times’s score was comparable to that of USA Today. Media analyst Brooke Gladstone of WNYC’s On the Media writes that the decline in U.S. public trust of the mass media can be explained (1) by the rise of the polarized Internet-driven news; (2) by a decline in trust in U.S. institutions more generally; and (3) by the fact that “Americans say they want accuracy and impartiality, but the polls suggest that, actually, most of us are seeking affirmation.”
An Uncle Tom at the New York Times wrote on January 9 that “Donald Trump is as much Russia’s appointment as our elected executive. The legacy of his political ascendance will be written in Cyrillic. A hostile foreign power stole confidential correspondence from American citizens and funneled that stolen material to a willing conspirator, Julian Assange. The foreign power then had its desired result achieved on our Election Day. This was an act of war and our presidency was the spoil.”
Two days later the NYTimes is disavowing fake news at CNN. What about its own fake news, its own fake columnists, its own fake editors, its own fake reporters?
The NYTimes has done the CIA’s work promoting fake news, and now the kettle is calling the pot black.
In May 2003, The New York Times reporter Jayson Blair was forced to resign from the newspaper after he was caught plagiarizing and fabricating elements of his stories. Some critics contended that African-American Blair’s race was a major factor in his hiring and in The New York Times’ initial reluctance to fire him.
The newspaper was criticized for largely reporting the prosecutors’ version of events in the 2006 Duke lacrosse case. Suzanne Smalley of Newsweek criticized the newspaper for its “credulous” coverage of the charges of rape against Duke University lacrosse players. Stuart Taylor, Jr. and KC Johnson, in their book Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, write: “at the head of the guilt-presuming pack, The New York Times vied in a race to the journalistic bottom with trash-TV talk shows.”
In February 2009, a Village Voice music blogger accused the newspaper of using “chintzy, ad-hominem allegations” in an article on British Tamil music artist M.I.A. concerning her activism against the Sinhala-Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka. M.I.A. criticized the paper in January 2010 after a travel piece rated post-conflict Sri Lanka the “#1 place to go in 2010”. In June 2010, The New York Times Magazine published a correction on its cover article of M.I.A., acknowledging that the interview conducted by current W editor and then-Times Magazine contributor Lynn Hirschberg contained a recontextualization of two quotes. In response to the piece, M.I.A. broadcast Hirschberg’s phone number and secret audio recordings from the interview via her Twitter and website.
The New York Times was criticized for the 13-month delay of the December 2005 story revealing the U.S. National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program. Ex-NSA officials blew the whistle on the program to journalists James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, who presented an investigative article to the newspaper in November 2004, weeks before America’s presidential election. Contact with former agency officials began the previous summer.
Former The New York Times executive editor Bill Keller decided not to report the piece after being pressured by the Bush administration and being advised not to do so by New York Times Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman. Keller explained the silence’s rationale in an interview with the newspaper in 2013, stating “Three years after 9/11, we, as a country, were still under the influence of that trauma, and we, as a newspaper, were not immune”.
In 2014, PBS Frontline interviewed Risen and Lichtblau, who said that the newspaper’s plan was to not publish the story at all. “The editors were furious at me”, Risen said to the program. “They thought I was being insubordinate.” Risen wrote a book about the mass surveillance revelations after The New York Times declined the piece’s publication, and only released it after Risen told them that he would publish the book. Another reporter told NPR that the newspaper “avoided disaster” by ultimately publishing the story
On June 16, 2015, The New York Times published an article reporting the deaths of six Irish students staying in Berkeley, California when the balcony they were standing on collapsed, the paper’s story insinuating that they were to blame for the collapse. The paper stated that the behavior of Irish students coming to the US on J1 visas was an “embarrassment to Ireland”. The Irish Taoiseach and former President of Ireland criticized the newspaper for “being insensitive and inaccurate” in its handling of the story.
In May 2015, a New York Times exposé on the working conditions of manicurists in New York City and elsewhere and the health hazards to which they are exposed attracted wide attention, resulting in emergency workplace enforcement actions by New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo. In July 2015, the story’s claims of widespread illegally low wages were challenged by former New York Times reporter Richard Bernstein, in the New York Review of Books. Bernstein, whose wife owns two nail salons, asserted that such illegally low wages were inconsistent with his personal experience, and were not evidenced by ads in the Chinese-language papers cited by the story. The New York Times editorial staff subsequently answered Bernstein’s criticisms with examples of several published ads and stating that his response was industry advocacy. The independent NYT Public Editor also reported that she had previously corresponded with Bernstein and looked into his complaints, and expressed her belief that the story’s reporting was sound.
In September and October 2015, nail salon owners and workers protested at The New York Times offices several times, in response to the story and the ensuing New York State crackdown. In October 2015, Reason magazine published a three part re-reporting of the story by Jim Epstein, charging that the series was filled with misquotes and factual errors respecting both its claims of illegally low wages and health hazards. Epstein additionally argued that The New York Times had mistranslated the ads cited in its answer to Bernstein, and that those ads actually validated Bernstein’s argument. In November 2015, The New York Times’ public editor concluded that the exposé’s “findings, and the language used to express them, should have been dialed back — in some instances substantially” and recommended that “The Times write further follow-up stories, including some that re-examine its original findings and that take on the criticism from salon owners and others — not defensively but with an open mind.”
On April 28, 2016, Levien and Times company CEO Mark Thompson were named in a 2016 federal class action lawsuit that claimed the advertising department purged older black employees and denied others’ promotions because they favored younger whites. Older black employees considered Levien guilty of racist innuendo for telling staff members like their customers
Discriminatory practices restricting women in editorial positions were previously used by the paper. The newspaper’s first general woman reporter was Jane Grant, who described her experience afterwards. She wrote, “In the beginning I was charged not to reveal the fact that a female had been hired”. Other reporters nicknamed her Fluff and she was subjected to considerable hazing. Because of her gender, promotions were out of the question, according to the then-managing editor. She was there for fifteen years, interrupted by World War I.
In 1935, Anne McCormick wrote to Arthur Hays Sulzberger, “I hope you won’t expect me to revert to ‘woman’s-point-of-view’ stuff.” Later, she interviewed major political leaders and appears to have had easier access than her colleagues did. Even those who witnessed her in action were unable to explain how she got the interviews she did. Clifton Daniel said, “[After World War II, I’m sure Adenauer called her up and invited her to lunch. She never had to grovel for an appointment.” Covering world leaders’ speeches after World War II at the National Press Club was limited to men by a Club rule. When women were eventually allowed in to hear the speeches, they still were not allowed to ask the speakers questions, although men were allowed and did ask, even though some of the women had won Pulitzer Prizes for prior work. Times reporter Maggie Hunter refused to return to the Club after covering one speech on assignment. Nan Robertson’s article on the Union Stock Yards, Chicago, was read aloud as anonymous by a professor, who then said, “‘It will come as a surprise to you, perhaps, that the reporter is a girl,’ he began… [G]asps; amazement in the ranks. ‘She had used all her senses, not just her eyes, to convey the smell and feel of the stockyards. She chose a difficult subject, an offensive subject. Her imagery was strong enough to revolt you.'” The New York Times hired Kathleen McLaughlin after ten years at the Chicago Tribune, where “[s]he did a series on maids, going out herself to apply for housekeeping jobs.”