Earlier this week I wrote to the Public Editor of the New York Times about my concerns with the way they “corrected” and then apparently “uncorrected” a story that originally mentioned occupied Gaza. My letter is here.
To their credit, they investigated and responded to my inquiry right away. I’ve copied it below.
A campaign needs to be launched to educate the New York Times about the occupation of Gaza and I’m going to talk with friends this evening about that.
Match 12, 2014
Dear Ms. Lucero,
Thanks for taking the time to write. Upon receiving your email, we undertook an investigation of the article in question. In speaking to The Times’s Corrections desk, we found that the correction was removed on a technicality and is being restored.
Apparently, an editor appended the correction without checking with the reporter who handled the article. That is against our policy. We never correct an article without first telling the reporter.
The correction will be back up shortly. Here is the editorial explanation for corrections of this type:
“The term “occupied” has a specific resonance in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and we have stopped referring to Gaza as occupied. This is not a new decision. We stopped when Israel ceased its formal occupation of the territory, and have since used other terms to describe Israeli pressure on Hamas and Gaza. “Occupied” is not among them. So when we err, we should acknowledge it with a correction.”
Of course, we recognize that this is a very complicated situation and encourage you to write to the International desk if you feel as though you would like further explanation. The desk can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for taking the time to read The Times.