Media watchdogs | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Media watchdogs

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2007 at 7:07 AM

In 1992, Gerth, Labaton and the rest of the NY Times and other media hit teams could regurgitate Republican talking points without fear of much blowback. Oh, Gene Lyons could eventually write a book. But corrections and context were not much a part of the Beltway media's Whitewater crusade.

This NY Times correction, with reference to an important cog in the blogosphere, is an example of how there's a bit more accountability these days. The details aren't so much the thing as the fact that it appeared at all. Thirteen years worth of corrections.

An article on July 5, 1994, about James B. Blair, then the general counsel for the Tyson Foods company and a longtime confidant and personal emissary for Bill and Hillary Clinton, misstated benefits that Tyson received from the state of Arkansas while Mr. Clinton was governor. Although the company did benefit from at least $7 million in state tax credits, it did not receive $9 million in loans from the state. (The error appeared in three other articles and in an editorial in 1994, all of which were corrected on April 20 of that year. The correction should have been appended then in The Times’s archives to those articles: one on the front page on March 18 about Mrs. Clinton’s commodity trades in the late 1970s; a March 19 article about President Clinton’s defense of Mrs. Clinton’s investments; a March 30 article about the White House’s disclosure of the amount Mrs. Clinton invested in commodities trades, and a March 31 editorial.)

The error in the July 5 article was discovered during research after the watchdog group Media Matters twice pointed out that the 1994 correction had not been appended to the other articles.

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