The Disappointing New York Times

Have you ever written to the _New York Times_ to ask for a “correction”: They do run them. Here’s an “example”:

bq. An article last Sunday about residential golf resorts opened by a developer transposed his given and middle names. He is Edward Robert Ginn III.

Mr. Ginn is probably relieved to see that. But I’m left wondering why this request of May 23 has not been deemed worthy of a response:

bq.. To whom it may concern,

I would like to request correction of a passage in the May 20 story by David Sanger and Nazila Fathi, “Iran Test-Fires Missile With 1,200-Mile Range.”

The second half of the article includes a claim that “enriching uranium to weapons grade” is “now under way at the large nuclear complex at Natanz.” To the best of my knowledge, this is not accurate; it has been ruled out by every report of the International Atomic Energy Agency that has reached the public eye since enrichment operations commenced at Natanz in 2007.

The authors presumably meant to write that the nuclear complex at Natanz is _capable_ of enriching uranium to weapons grade. This is a very important distinction, as the actual decision to start enriching uranium to weapons grade would be similar in moment to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

I hope you will clarify this matter for the readers.


Josh Pollack

[contact info omitted]

(NYT subscriber since 1996)

p. I have no idea why that doesn’t merit so much as an acknowledgment.

For reference, here’s the link to the “Sanger-Fathi article”: Here’s “what I wrote about it earlier”: Click and scroll down a bit.

2 thoughts on “The Disappointing New York Times

  1. Patrick Disney

    Thanks for this, Josh. We at NIAC also sent a similar letter, and I know of at least two or three other people, all from very well respected organizations, who sent letters—all to no avail.

    It strikes me that the NYT is willing to publish letters from no fewer than four of our colleagues from the nonpro community in response to the “Trouble with Zero” column, but is unwilling even to print a correction (the journalistically responsible thing to do) on the subject of Iran. I can’t say I’m surprised, since the NYT has a pattern of dealing with the Iran issue in troubling ways. Glad to hear there was a concerted effort on this, though—good letter.

  2. Josh

    You’re welcome. I hadn’t realized there were so many letters flying around on this nagging little detail. I wonder if any of them got any response.

    What you see as a troubling pattern on Iran, I see as a pattern of carelessness on nuclear proliferation (and WMD generally). No need to recite the particulars at this moment. Perhaps what a reader knows the most about is where s/he will see the most problems.


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