At least he doesn't have a Twitter account ...Lie-plagued yuppie lifestyle app The New York Times has a big problem. On the one hand, it wants to have lots of link-bait articles full of lies — anything a politician says, “yoga will kill you,” etc. On the other hand, it has a few nervous-nelly editors wondering whether there is some “market share potential” in occasionally publishing the truth about events, people and situations. This is the newspaper that has blindly supported every imperial war since 9/11, and has blindly nodded its consent to global supervillains such as Dick Cheney and Alan Greenspan. And now it’s suddenly having a conversation with itself about whether it should note which things are obviously true or untrue. Whatever, Noam Chomsky!

This, from the milquetoast schoolmarm currently employed as the “public editor” of the NYT:

I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.

One example mentioned recently by a reader: As cited in an Adam Liptak article on the Supreme Court, a court spokeswoman said Clarence Thomas had “misunderstood” a financial disclosure form when he failed to report his wife’s earnings from the Heritage Foundation. The reader thought it not likely that Mr. Thomas “misunderstood,” and instead that he simply chose not to report the information.

Another example: on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.

Wow, where to begin? Maybe just don’t, and instead link to Choire Sicha’s post at The Awl, where he notes that 99% of the commenters at the NYT are bizarrely in favor of the Paper of Record reporting actual facts. [The Awl/NYT/Metafilter]

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  • GunToting[Redacted]

    NYTimes fail journalizm 101? That's unpossible!

    • MittsHairHelmet

      Super Nintendo Chalmers

    • OneDollarJuana

      And imbelievable.

    • Generation[redacted]

      "Just go to sleep, America, and let the other countries learn."
      "Sleep! That's where I'm a Viking!"

    • Boojum_Reborn

      And grammar. I'm looking for input on whether reporters know how to structure a sentence so that it doesn't end with a preposition. Or if impactful proactivititiousness is what winning the future is about.

  • Barb

    It's now known as the "grey area lady"

    • Callyson

      I thought it was the blah lady…

    • SorosBot

      For a second I read that as "grey lady area", and was uncomfortably reminded that there is such a thing as granny porn.

      • Barb

        Granny Porn? A 60 year-old woman who will hump you and then give you a butterscotch?

    • themcwow

      Barb, why has IntenseDebate made you the green area lady?

  • neiltheblaze

    Why start telling the truth now? They might get accused of being Liberals.

  • Beetagger

    All the truthiness that's fit to print.

  • memzilla

    Drudge Report laughs and spins everything to the right, NYT worries and spins everything left. Lighten up, Times! No one cares about Teh Troof, just the spin.

    I personally want a fusion of,, and C-SPAN. I'd love to see a chyron with "Pants On Fire Lie" — live! — every time John "Weepy" Boehner, Mitch "Turtle" McConnell, Eric "Asshat" Cantor, and Paul "Screw The Poorz" Ryan open their pieholes.

  • Wonderthing

    Readers, what IS a reporter? Is it someone who reports? Or writes a book report? Or is it the sound a gun makes over and over? Please tell us so we can take our fingers out of our ass, try to make sense of it all and then have Jell-O. Shots. Ew.

  • mavenmaven

    Waiting for the NY Post Headlines: NYT SAYS: TRUTH SHMUTH

    • user-of-owls


    • tessiee


  • MissTaken

    'I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.'

    Maybe having to put the word "facts" in quotes already answers your question.

    • SorosBot

      This is not intended to be a factual news article.

      • MissTaken

        You're back! Done sleeping off the hangover/up too late posting on the Wonkette?

        • SorosBot

          I was spending some of my involuntary vacation in Skyrim.

          • I live in a Skyrim household.

          • Fare la Volpe

            God, you too? It must be a really gentrified neighborhood if all of my friends keep moving there.

          • SorosBot

            Luckily the dragon attacks keep the rent low.

          • Fare la Volpe
      • Baconzgood

        DAMN! beat me to it.

    • Chichikovovich

      Wow. Good eye. That is a game ending tell right there.

      (Note to NYT: proper respect for facts would require the quotation marks on "news reporters" and "write" rather than "facts" in this sentence.)

      • HateMachine

        Not in the grey lady's official style manual!

    • Baconzgood

      Who are "you" to "tell" the "New York Times" how to "report" and "vet" "facts".

  • MittsHairHelmet

    This was published in an actual newspaper.

    • Preferred Customer

      I am not ready to concede that.

    • Barrelhse

      Not intended as a factual statement.

  • i'd be pissed but I'm pretty sure I read in the NYT that Brisbane will soon be subject to obama's death panels.

  • PsycWench

    Eh, facts, so 20th century.

    • Reality is so over.

      • Fukui_sanYesOta

        Reality has been done for a while.

        the series of increasingly sophisticated Bell test experiments has convinced the physics community in general that local realism is untenable

        • ShaveTheWhales

          Nice quote, but it's locality that is so over. I think the physics community still believes in reality.

          • Fukui_sanYesOta

            Heh, yeah, I took that out of context a little. The Bell Inequality results mean either locality is done or that objective non-measured reality is done.

            I'm unaware of an experiment or result that can decide between the two and physicists plumped for locality.

    • LetUsBray

      "Facts are stupid things" — St. Ronnie.

  • Schmannnity

    "I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

    That's the difference between "parroting" and "investigating" or "reporting," jackass.

    • pdiddycornchips

      Why don't they ask Judith Miller about her thoughts on this subject?

    • MaxNeanderthal

      You'd think that they'd compare the lifespan of newspapers that sort of print something that bears an approximation of the truth, eg. London Times, Le Figaro etc. with the lifespan of an abject, drooling sycophancy-sheet, eg, Any paper in the third reich, North Korea, Libya etc, and draw their own inferences… but then again, maybe not…

  • Truth? We ain’t go no truth. We don’t need no truth. I don’t have to show you any stinking truth.

  • What's the matter, Times? You can't handle the truth?

  • user-of-owls

    "It's ok, Meghan, stop crying there by your typewriter. We'll just get you a vat full of Nair and that'll take care of things. Really, you'll see!"

  • Dashboard Buddha

    "I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

    I'm not a journalist so help me out here…


  • DaRooster

    Does FOX hate the competition yet?

  • spends2much

    I watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report for news, and read the New York Times for laughs. I'm just kidding; I don't read the Times!

  • Baconzgood

    "Hey we need some one to check facts….Get Jayson Blair on it"

    -Great Grey Lady Editor-

    • We need a story on Jukt Micronics–stat! (I know that was Stephen Glass, but still..)

    • sati_demise

      oh snap

  • PsycWench

    Think of how often they'd have had to challenge Sarah Palin in 2008. The challenges about the bridge "thanks but no thanks" claims alone would require an extra paper section.

  • bumfug

    Watch out, this "truth" shit is a slippery slope.

  • I've always wandered: how much time you think the libtard NYT commenters spend writing those fancy essays/comments?

  • SorosBot

    No, Times, showing balance is the important thing, not truth. Keep with the "some people say the Earth is round, some flat" style of reporting, or else someone might say you have a liberal bias, which they'll do anyway despite it being bullshit, and that's the worst thing that could ever happen to you.

    • Fukui_sanYesOta

      Oh yeah, that whole balance thing is definitely the way to go.

      "The general consensus among scientists is that humans evolved from a common ancestor with the apes over the course of millions of years. However, Kelvin W. Poltroon, Lucasian Professor of Evolution at the University of Wichita (formerly a branch of Arby's), claims that he has evidence suggesting that humans evolved from a goat-badger hybrid."

      • MissTaken

        Human badger don't give a shit

        • Fukui_sanYesOta

          Ewww! He's eating a monster fatburger! He's so nasty!

    • Exactly. It's almost like Stockholm Syndrome, with Rightwingers being their captors (well, except that the NYT aren't really victims, they are just dumbasses who are afraid their shitty paper won't sell).

    • Fare la Volpe

      Hey. Stop being mean to poor CNN.

  • BZ1

    Colbert calls them pesky facts-reporting as "truthiness"

  • poncho_pilot

    what are these strange newspapers you speak of?

  • widestanceshakedown

    Tis truly a sad state of affairs when a paper of record has to resort to facts just to keep readership.

  • freakishlywrong

    "News" is now IMHO. Your move, Orwell.

  • Is this the same paper that published Judith Miller?

  • Schmannnity

    Would the NYT publish The Pentagon Papers now in the face of a hot denial from a Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld?

    • HateMachine

      Sorry, but this entire scenario is implausible. There's simply nothing 'hot' about Donald Rumsfeld.

  • spends2much

    I like the part that's all "but if we check out one fact, we'll have to check them all !" Cuz that would totally eat into their drinking time, and possibly cause, I don't know, an 8 hour work day.

  • ChernobylSoup

    As long as they only report facts in quiet rooms, I'm okay with it.

  • but but but I thought that whole logo in black and white showing the guy with the monocle meant he was scrutinizing everything that came along across his path?…

    oh, wrong publication.

    • BaldarTFlagass

      Well, it's an easy mistake, since they both have "New York" in their titles.

      • My [ass-backwards] point, exactly! (p.s. I don't stutter in real life, either)~

  • Chichikovovich

    There are people who feel the NYT ought to report facts, but there are skeptics who disagree.

    • ShaveTheWhales


      Well, in my opinion. There may be those who say otherwise.

      • Chichikovovich

        Time will tell. The only constant here…. is change.—

        • Boojum_Reborn

          And what is important is that we present arrant nonsense as it were the equivalent of indisputable fact, so that you can decide!

  • BarackMyWorld

    New York Times Wondering Whether It Should Tell the Truth About Anything


  • Who needs facts when you have Project Veritas?


  • freakishlywrong

    Look at fucking Politifact. They had to name a truth the "lie of the year" because wingnuts had won for the two previous years and everyone knows that facts should be fair and balanced. *Facepalms..

    • SorosBot

      But the Ryan plan would still leave something called Medicare, so saying the plan to destroy Medicare would destroy Medicare was a pants-on-fire lie! Sort of like how, if I drove off with your care but left a Matchbox car behind, to say I stole your car would be a pants-on-fire lie.

  • Radiotherapy

    Thank Zeus for SOPA. It will totally fix this oversight of "factual" reporting.

  • Baconzgood

    I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts”——-

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, from one of the last great bastions of investigative journalism in this country *dry clicking a revolver in my mouth*.

    • BarryOPotter

      Don't despair, try ProPublica for the investigative-y stuff

    • Millennial Malaise

      Also, I am more than happy with my Harper's subscription.

  • bitchincamaro2

    BBC Radio "Hardtalk" interviewers know how it's done. Reporter interviewed the admiral in charge of Gitmo this morning. He pointed out the fact that the royal BS espoused by the admiral was opposed to his commander-in-chief's view of the efficacy of preventive detentions especially as it applies to Guantanomo. Not that they're perfect, but why do we have to rely on the BBC for this kind of responsible reporting?

    • Fukui_sanYesOta

      State-funded and therefore EVIL. </wingnut>

    • SorosBot

      Yeah, it's pretty sad that the only way to get good journalism in America is to watch or read foreign news sources.

  • MARCdMan

    What do the advertisers want? That's what you'll get.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    They should take their lead from America's Finest News Source, The Onion.

    • tessiee

      Considering that when Dumbya stole the 2000 election, the Onion's headline was "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over", you may be right.

  • KeepFnThatChicken

    Yes, you should. Snopes is too prone to serve pop-ups.

  • MissTaken

    I fully understand. I caught a case of the "facts"once, too. Started recycling, taking public transportation to work, and voting for Democrats. Yikes!

  • BaldarTFlagass

    I just wish they would make the crossword easier. And how about some comics? That Marmaduke always gives me a chuckle.

    • emmelemm

      Family Circle, please. "Oh, that Billy!"

    • Barrelhse

      and Nancy, Brother Juniper, Hazel- hilarious stuff.

  • DaRooster

    "Facts?! You can't handle the facts!!"

  • But how will help politeness and bipartisanship?

    • freakishlywrong

      And civil intercourse?

      • elviouslyqueer

        Wait. Is civil intercourse the kind that doesn't result in santorum spillage?

        • Mahousu

          I think it's the non-competitive sort.

        • tessiee

          I usually say Thank You afterwards, but then, I'm just a polite person.

      • SorosBot

        What if we prefer our intercourse rough and dirty?

  • Mahousu

    Look, everyone at the Times is going to be laid off / bought out / early retired in the next year or so anyway. Why should they make their remaining time unpleasant by actually doing their jobs?

    • sati_demise


  • Eve8Apples

    Will reporting on these "fact" things help sell more papers or increase ad revenue?
    If not, why bother?

    Stick to stories on celebrity hookups and hoity-toity fluff pieces. The NY Times – We're Fit to Print Pointless Bullshit.

  • The Times shouldn't challenge "facts". Their job (which they have been doing so wall for so many years) is act as a stenographer and megaphone for whatever set of lackeys shows up.

  • Cripes. No wonder I can't my teenagers to think critically.

  • CrunchyKnee

    Puzzlemaster Will Shortz is outraged!

    • James Michael Curley

      Shortz is an outrage before Memorial Day. And then, only on Casual Friday.

      • DahBoner


  • All the shit that ain't fit to print.

  • WhatTheHeck

    Look, Ken, if I read sumpin on the interwebs, its gotta be right. And speaking as a primate, let me assure you twittering is for stupid humans.
    Oh, and by the way, there's a group of chimps just hangin around ready to step in for those NY Times reporters and they will work for peanuts. Who needs college anyways.

    • sati_demise

      I read the news to confirm what I read on Twitter 5 hours earlier.

  • Baconzgood

    OH PS everyone.
    Yoga will only kill you if you're lactose intolerant.

    • Fukui_sanYesOta

      Next time on Dr Oz – can this miracle plant extract prevent lactose-intolerant Yoga deaths? We lift the lid on information you MUST know!

      man I hate that fucking Dr Oz show.

      • Callyson

        YOU: Taking Facts Seriously

        • Fukui_sanYesOta

          It's a failing of mine. Oh well.

    • Barrelhse

      Don't eat the toad food.

    • Slow fucking brain today. It took me five hours to finally understand your pun. I feel so American now.

  • UnholyMoses

    There's a reason a free media is in the First Amendment.

    Not the second. Not the third. Not the tenth.

    The FIRST.

    These fuckholes fail to understand why that is, which says a lot about the state of our media and the decline of democracy — and none of it good.

    • Preferred Customer

      Well, yes, I agree, but a strict ordering puts quartering soldiers ahead of equal protection, so we can't get too caught up in that.

      • UnholyMoses

        Excellent point …

      • Boojum_Reborn

        Well, perhaps, but the first ten were a package deal. And besides, soldiers will piss anywhere, so it was a big fucking deal.

  • The New York Times thanks Fred Hiatt and company at The War Criminal Post for making them look (relatively) decent, against all odds.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    "whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."

    Ok, how about just report the obvious bullshit with a bit of snark.

    For instance, "a court spokeswoman said Clarence Thomas had “misunderstood” (nudge nudge, wink wink) a financial disclosure form when he failed to report his wife’s earnings from the Heritage Foundation (*cough* blowjob *cough* eat me). That would be a nice compromise.

    • Boojum_Reborn

      Or even "a court spokesman attempted to claim that a Justice of the United States Supreme Court could not understand a simple form, written in English, and for this reason failed to report this income He did not provide any evidence for this self-serving and patently unbelievable claim. In contrast, we asked 25 random people on the street to read the form and state whether such income needed to be reported. Only the schizophrenic homeless man agreed with Justice Thomas."

  • SayItWithWookies

    Did President Obama really go on an apology world tour? Maybe, maybe not — we should teach the controversy. Oh — the facts show that he didn't? Well apparently not everyone agrees with the facts — and so we should teach that controversy.

  • Callyson

    JFC…I've been going back and forth on whether I should give in to the permanence of the firewall and pay for access, but this settles it. I'll use my 20 freebies per month for Gail Collins and Paul Krugman, otherwise the NYT can get bent…

  • Eve8Apples

    I'm so bored with political coverage anyway. I hope they do a front page, above the fold story on anal bleaching or flower arranging.

  • elviouslyqueer

    You know who else disingenuously solicited input about "facts"?

    • SorosBot

      Andrew Breitbart, from James O'Keefe?

    • Preferred Customer

      Puzzlemaster Will Shortz?

    • Fukui_sanYesOta

      George W Bush?

      • Bestest.

      • C_R_Eature

        Nope, that was Cheney. George was busy playing Call of Duty and picking out fabric swatches for the Presidential Library.

    • BarryOPotter

      My boss! And every fucking time I fall for it.. — "What? You want my opinion? Coming!" BYB…

    • Dr. Clayton Forrester?

    • The author of "The Bell Curve"?

  • IncenseDebate

    They should publish all the kink that's fit to ink.

  • chicken_thief

    That could become tedious…

    Romney: “Obama goes around the world, apologizing for America…”
    NYT reporter: “Mr. Romney, Obama has never apologized.”
    Romney: “Well, some people thought he was apologizing.”
    NYT reporter: “Who?”
    Romney: “Me and my wife. My sons. Everyone at Fox News.”
    NYT reporter: “But they would be wrong. It is not correct.”
    Romney: “Ok, but we did not know that at the time.”
    NYT reporter: “Now that you know, would you like to try again?”
    Romney: “Sure! Obama has gone around the world making statements that people thought, at the time, were apologies.”

    Maybe they should make the headline "Romney Continues To Lie about Obama Apologies" or something.

    • Boojum_Reborn

      Yes. Facts are tedious, in comparison to fantasy.

      • DahBoner

        If you believe something, it's real!

        I did'nt realize the NYT was a New Age publication…

  • FakaktaSouth

    I say asking "should we challenge the obviously blatant lies these assholes tell or just keep quoting them as accepted fact?" is progress for the current media. Pathetic, thanks for FINALLY MERELY considering not speeding up the destruction of our nation progress, but still.

  • owhatever

    Journalism 101 — Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Never screw the elephants when you are covering the circus. That's about it.

    • Barrelhse

      I think the elephants are legal in Florida.

      • chicken_thief

        And Alabama, if they are 2nd cousins or closer.

  • Are you serious, Brisbane? It's fucking call Journalism!

  • OneYieldRegular

    Oh come off it with the navel-gazing. Why not just stick with letting "facts" be dealt with by the experts on the fashion page?

  • HateMachine

    Jesus. No snark, it makes me weep that they even feel like they should ask readers about this, as though people would prefer to be lied to for the sake of balance. But at least they're considering it? Although they don't seem to be considering it very strongly.

    But thank you, Ken, this is your first piece in a while that has made me laugh in addition to the all-consuming despair, instead of just the despair.

  • James Michael Curley

    Most curious. Is surprisingly similar to discussion we had after 'Glorious Revolution." We would knock back a few Votkas and Votka and conclude, "Is no news in Isvestia and no truth in Pravda."

  • Fare la Volpe

    Some people say the New York Times can eat shit. Others disagree.

    • sati_demise

      Then some say to eat shit and die. Balance.

    • Boojum_Reborn

      Who disagrees? I challenge the truth of that assertion!

  • dijetlo

    In related news, Playboy has asked it's subscribers "Would you like to see more titts?"

    The world waits breathlessly for their response….

  • BigDumbRedDog

    Reading this makes me glad that I have been evading the Time's paywall and reading all the shit for free this whole time. Do people actually pay money for this shit?

  • whatupirondog


    1) A publication that does not publish any and all bullshit that falls out of a subject's mouth.

    Synonyms: total bringdown, unfairandunbalanced


    "Should we go with this "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" report? The sources seem pretty sketchy to me…"

    "Sure, why not? What are we, truth vigilantes or something?"

    "lol, etc…"

  • Dudleydidwrong

    Thanks. You folks have been a big help. I buy the goddamn paper every fucking day and wonder what is wrong with my eyesight. I always read that little non-sentence up in the left corner at the top of the paper as "ALL THE NUDES THAT'S FIT TO PRINT" and I keep wondering if they left that section out of the otherwise-dumb thing. Never have I seen a nude in that paper. Never, I tell ya.

    • Eve8Apples

      I don't understand how they developed a reputation as a liberal rag if they don't even show a pair of tits every once in awhile.

      • chicken_thief

        There's a shit ton of boobs on the cover the day after every Republican debate.

  • sati_demise


  • sati_demise

    oh, and that Clarence Thomas thing?
    How can one report his wifes income for years, then 'forget' how to read the fucking disclosure form when she is 'hired' by the Heritage Foundation? FACT checking might DISCLOSE that NYT, ya' think?

    • Boojum_Reborn

      Um…yes and no!

  • Nostrildamus

    NPR please take note.

  • How does Krugman stand it there?

  • DahBoner

    For a second there, I thought the Yoga Will Kill You article was ghost-written by Pat Robertson.

    But then I realized that only 31% of Americans exercise on a regular basis, so it was probably just another lazy American hipster…

  • I'm fine with reading lies as long as I know the paper is doing everything it can to limit the costs of production.

  • Jerri

    But "facts" might not make good fodder for shiny, trendpiecey, interactive slideshows and infographics, Ken!

  • Just like the Prophets job was to write God's Word into His Bible WITHOUT QUESTION it is the reporters job to REPORT. Period. End of story. This is not difficult to understand.

    • sati_demise

      Well that explains it then.

  • Harry_S_Truman

    That the Times has to even ask this question makes Meta Jesus cry.

  • ttommyunger

    The publisher of the Pentagon Papers has devolved into nothing more than a daily Pentagon Pamphlet, sadly.

  • Negropolis

    So, the NYT is really going to an existential "To be, or not to be" Hamlet soliloquy, eh?

    Bless their hearts.

  • illnoise

    Do I get a free t-shirt for recognizing that photo as the first Mekons album, "The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strnen…"?

  • coron4

    "All the news that fits, we print!" Oh, wait… that's the other newspaper of record.

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