Monday, April 23, 2007

Duke lacrosse: Can the Times be any more fatuous?

The Public Editor of the New York Times examines the paper's coverage of the Duke lacrosse case. Not surprisingly, he manages to praise the Times with faint damns.

LieStoppers has a detailed and devastating analysis here.

Calame's column strikes me as deeply dishonest in many ways. Perhaps the most important one is the way he stacks the deck by evaluating only a single news story. Readers do not read stories in isolation and the Times did not write about Duke only once. By ignoring the totality of the coverage, Calame took away the context of Duff Wilson's embarrassing front page spin job.

David Warsh has written that newspapers compete in "explanations space": "the lofty region where short-term causal explanations of events are forged. " I've argued that in this competition columnists are big guns. Calame treats them as unimportant auxiliaries, which is convenient if your goal is to minimize the errors of the Times.

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