On Tuesday, The New York Times ran a front-page story featuring a draft climate change report that was “obtained” by The Times, and a not-so-subtle accusation that the Trump administration was planning to prevent the public from seeing it.
However, it turns out that the draft report had already been available online for months before The Times “obtained” it, and was easily available for anyone interested in reading it. How The Times tried to fix the foul-up is simply shameful.
In its hyperventilating story, which has been updated since it originally appeared, The Times writes the report “directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain.”
The Times then cited an unnamed scientist “involved in the process, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity, (who) said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed.”
Suppress a report that had already been public for months? It didn’t take long for someone to call B.S. on the inaccurate reporting.
The Times’ leaked draft has been on the Internet Archive since January, during the public comment period https://t.co/B8XLQ6omb2
— Bob Kopp (@bobkopp) August 8, 2017
Even other mainstream media outlets called it out.
In The Washington Post, media critic Erik Wemple wrote that although Times Times attached a correction to the bottom of the piece, “given the magnitude of the screw-up, it should sit atop the story, surrounded by red flashing lights and perhaps an audio track to instruct readers: Warning: This story once peddled a faulty and damaging premise.”
Wemple also cited several claims in The Times piece that were both inaccurate and leading and spoke to the liberal agenda rather than true journalism. These instances include:
When the NYT wrote, “One government scientist who worked on the report, and who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others are concerned it will be suppressed.” (It wasn’t being suppressed.)
When the NYT wrote, “A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.” (The Times and anyone else who would take a second to look for it.)
And again, When the NYT wrote, “The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.” (It’s been public for some time.)
Caught in the embarrassing situation, the Times quietly switched out the drafts in the article, rewording parts such as the one that claimed the report “had been obtained by The New York Times” to saying “It was uploaded to a nonprofit internet digital library in January but received little attention until it was published by The New York Times.”
Then, at the end of the article, came this carefully worded “correction”:
“An article on Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report referred incorrectly to the availability of the report. While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times.”
That’s not just a factual detail that The Times got wrong. Every news organization will make mistakes. They’re put together by human beings.
But in this case, the error was in the basic premise of the story — and no doubt explained its prominent play in the top right hand corner of the front page in The Times print edition.
As Wemple put it, bright flashing lights at the top of the article might have been a good way to start coming clean.
But that’s only if you’re really trying to come clean, not run away from or hide your mistakes. Shame on The New York Times for not properly vetting their sources and for leading with news that is not factual.
Since the November election, The New York Times and other major mainstream outlets have had only one goal: To damage the Trump White House as badly as possible.
This “report” just proves it.
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H/T The Daily Caller