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The [Thursday] Papers

A colleague sent me an e-mail this morning asking for my thoughts about the way the New York Times was found to have edited a story about Bernie Sanders' legislative strategies after it had been posted in a way that diminished his successes.

My response:

"It shows how journalists equate their own biased judgement for objectivity, i.e., senior NYT editors said themselves the piece didn't cast enough doubt on how Bernie's legislative strategies would translate were he to become president. I'm sure they thought that was an objective journalistic instinct. Was not. The original piece was fascinating - I didn't know that Sanders was so successful a legislator."

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I also believe news organizations should show their editing changes online - as I said in this Columbia Journalism Review article, be your own NewsDiffs, which is the site that outed the Times. To not do so is to deceive readers. This is Sunshine Week in the industry, but I don't see news organizations considering how to be more transparent about their own work. This would be a good place to start.

(The next would be for journalists, particular editors-in-chief, to stop refusing to comment or responding with canned statements - also known as e-mails - when they are asked about their work, newsrooms or organizations. It's as infuriating as it is hypocritical, and doesn't engender the trust and goodwill of the public.)

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A few minor tweaks were made to my recent Crain's Op-Ed after it was posted. I'd love for readers to see those changes and allow for them to open to public discussion (in this case an explanatory sentence was added following a link so readers had a better ideas what I was referring to, and a sentence was amended for clarification; not necessarily much grist for public debate, just sayin'). Doesn't bother me any. But reporters - and editors - get their back up. Also, the digital world is used to seeing, for example, delete marks deletions right there in the open; the print world isn't used to any such thing - or to having their internal decision-making made transparent.

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From Times public editor Margaret Sullivan:

"The executive editor, Dean Baquet, also responded to Erik Wemple of the Washington Post on Tuesday night, and Ms. Steinhauer responded to the Rolling Stone piece. Both said, in essence, that the changes were routine efforts to add context to an evolving story."

It was nothing of the sort. An examination of Bernie Sanders' record in the U.S. Senate is as static as an article can be; nothing about it is evolving.

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"Ms. Steinhauer, in a response to my e-mail, suggested that I speak to editors because 'it was an editing decision.'"

No doubt, Steinhauer no doubt made that suggestion out of fear and cowardice. It was an editing decision that involved her story - and in fact undercut her reporting, writing and judgement. Surely she has thoughts on that - and could also shed light on the process behind how the changes came to be.

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See also:

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Radioactive Rahm
"[W]ith friends Hillary and Bill Clinton in town regularly to campaign in recent days, Emanuel kept his public distance," the Tribune reports.

"Clinton aides said that neither the former president nor the former secretary of state held any private meetings with the mayor while they were here. Emanuel also would not say Wednesday whether the Clintons had invited him to campaign with them.

"I've got to be honest. People elected me to be mayor," Emanuel said. "There were enough candidates over the last three months. They didn't need another candidate."

I thought you said you had to be honest?

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"Sanders sought to make Emanuel a political liability in Illinois, mocking the mayor's closing of nearly 50 schools, labeling his record as 'disastrous' and calling on Clinton to reject his endorsement. The Vermont senator also aired a TV ad in which a Chicago school principal criticized the mayor as being a chief backer of the city's 'corrupt political system' and another TV spot that featured Emanuel's opponent in last year's runoff election, Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia.

"In the end, the attacks didn't move the needle enough to keep Clinton from taking Illinois, as she easily won suburban Cook County and Chicago while racking up big margins in the city's majority African-American wards.

"It wasn't too effective, because Hillary still won," South Side Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, said of Sanders' anti-Emanuel efforts. "But I think it did create some damage to the Clinton campaign in the city of Chicago."

Beale's quote seems to contain two opposing ideas. The Emanuel attacks certainly were effective, helping in their own small way to shrink Clinton's initial tremendous lead here to a close call. It simply wasn't enough to put Sanders over the top in raw numbers, though Clinton ultimately claimed just one more delegate than he did.

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"A Chicago Tribune poll published in early February showed Emanuel's approval rating at a record-low 27 percent. The same poll had Alvarez's job approval at 30 percent."

Kim Foxx for mayor!

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"Asked if he would have suffered the same fate as Alvarez had he been on the ballot Tuesday, Emanuel joked, 'Well if I was, I would have spent more money than I did last night.'"

I don't find that funny; I find it frightening.

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Adios, Adam
Our very own Roger Wallenstein on how the departure of Adam LaRoche probably went down. In The White Sox Report.

Terrific Reporting On Trump
ProPublica's compilation.

No. 1 Triton Advances To Elite Eight
JUCO brackets, y'all.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I could've done better than Mickey Mouse as the punch line; I was tired.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The last shall be first.



Permalink

Posted on March 17, 2016


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Rauner Vetoes Online Privacy.
SPORTS - Coffman: Cooper's Blooper Not As Bad As You Think.

BOOKS - Quimby's Adult Thrillers!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Black Jeans In White Tel Aviv.


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