David Carr embarrasses himself
Blogs can be serious enough and conventional enough in execution to fit in with mainstream media (as will be the case when Time.com will begin running AndrewSullivan.com in January). But because blogs can be amended or erased, the people who write them tend not to be held to account. The expectation is that bloggers will transgress lines in terms of efficacy and tone and anybody who complains is viewed as a weenie.Yeah, it's all about the amending and erasing.
Actually, I'm on record for getting very pissed when people just blatantly pull posts. I admit to changing typos myself, but anyone who's read this page with any consistency knows that I will correct my errors publicly.
Funny thing, though...
I seem to remember Russ Kick at the Memory Hole saying something about some people who liked to "amend" and "erase" things on the web.
The "newspaper of record" has been caught changing the record. On 15 February 2003, the New York Times Website ran an article on the worldwide peace protests held that day. Toward the end, it mentioned that the NY Police Department had snipers on the rooftops, undercover officers in the crowd, bomb-sniffing dogs, and equipment for detecting and neutralizing hazardous materials. All of this information was deleted in the final version of the article.And...
On 01 October 2003, the New York Times published the article "White House Besieged With Questions Over Leaking of Name" by David Stout. A couple of bloggers, including Atrios, immediately pointed out this astoundingly asinine paragraph regarding the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name by senior Bush Administration officials:And...The scandal over the leak is hard to define in one or two sentences. It does not seem to involve issues of constitutional gravity, like Watergate or the Iran-contra affair, or at least not directly. It does not have to do with greed. Nor does it seem to involve matters of national security.Soon, that boneheaded paragraph was completely gone, with no indication that the article had been changed.
On 12 June 2003, the New York Times ran an article headlined: "Goal Is to Lay Cornerstone at Ground Zero During GOP Convention." It appeared in the print version and on the Web.Atrios has made the point that Carr has already proven himself foolish for trying to tie the perceived indiscretions of one blog around the necks of all, but has yet to suggest the convening of another panel on blogger ethics. For shame!
At some point during the day, the Web headline was changed, thus becoming: "Officials Plan Speedy Ground Zero Environmental Review."
A reader alerted me to the change, and I read the article, noting that the first paragraph said:Rebuilding officials said yesterday that they hoped to complete a review of the environmental impact of the proposed construction at the World Trade Center site by next April. This would allow them to lay the cornerstone of a 1,776-foot tower in August 2004, during the Republican National Convention.Later in the day, this first paragraph changed. It now reads:Rebuilding officials said yesterday that they hoped to complete a review of the environmental impact of the proposed construction at the World Trade Center site by next April. This would allow them to start construction by the summer of 2004.The part about laying the cornerstone during the Republican convention has been excised, not only from that paragraph but from the entire article.