Botching the Israel/Palestine Talks Timeline

NYT-Abbas Balks

Some stories are easy to understand–or would be, if media reported the facts without so much spin. As hard as it might be to believe, the roots of the current Israel/Palestine negotiating impasse is one of those stories.


Nate Silver Didn't Fit In at the New York Times Because He Believed in the Real World

Nate Silver's failure to fit in with the culture of the New York Times illustrates the difference between objectivity and "objectivity"–the latter being the belief that it's impossible to know what's real, so all you can do is report the claims made by various (powerful) people.


NYT Public Editor Joins Critics of Hastings Obit

In her take on Michael Hastings' obit, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan said that while "the obituary…is not factually inaccurate, as far as I can tell," she said it "seems to diminish his work's legitimacy."


Keeping Yet Another Government Secret

The National Clandestine Service: Too secret to reveal the name of its acting chief--but not too secret to be looking for student interns.

The compelling interest in the public knowing that a high-ranking public official has taken part in highly controversial and perhaps even illegal actions, in the view of these news outlets, is apparently outweighed by their duty, as they see it, to keep the government's secrets.


AP Ditches 'Illegal' Label

"No One Is Illegal" banner (cc photo: Vertigogen)

The Associated Press announced a change in their style guide: The wire service will no longer refer to "illegal immigrants," except in direct quotes. The change is a victory for activists who have called for years for journalists to stop using the term.


NYT Rewrites Accurate Occupation Headline


Non-violent protesters came up with a novel way to protest Israeli plans to build more settlement colonies in the occupied West Bank: They occupied the land themselves. The New York Times reported the news on Saturday. But the most remarkable thing is what they did with the headline.


At NYT, She Said No to 'He Said/She Said'–but They Said Yes

Margaret Sullivan

The new public editor at the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, dedicated her first column (9/16/12) to factchecking and false balance. Her conclusion: It ought to go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: Journalists need to make every effort to get beyond the spin and help readers know what to believe, to help them make their way through complicated and contentious subjects. The more news organizations can state established truths and stand by them, the better off the readership–and the democracy–will be. It's good news that Sullivan thinks this way–and an improvement over her predecessor's much-maligned column […]