Joe Nocera has a column about the Home Depot customer data breach that is worth noticing for at least two reasons.
First, he engages in what Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has called, in other instances, "anonymous outsourcing," borrowing another news organization's anonymously sourced material and passing it along to Times readers without independently assessing the veracity of the sources. Mr. Nocera writes:
Reader-contributor-watchdog-content co-creator-participant-community member Arul Louis writes:
A sports column by Richard Sandomir carries the following passage:
An article in Sunday's Times explains helpfully, "Not all fashion designers are gay; however, a large proportion are, and a fair number of their customers are, too."
News you can use.
A dispatch from Gaza City about an apartment building destroyed in this summer's war could have used a more careful edit.
The article reports: "Atef Adwan, one of 28 Hamas lawmakers elected in 2006, bought a first-floor apartment five years ago for his second wife, and spent much of the summer there with her and their two young sons, fearing the Israelis would target his home in the border town of Beit Hanoun."
The phrase "his second wife" raises more questions than it answers. Does Mr. Adwan have two wives at the same time? Or is the apartment for his sole current wife, in which case, why does the Times feel the need to mention that he had a prior marriage?
Then there is a reference to "Owda J. Abu Mathkour, the wealthy mogul who runs the Zafer contracting company." Isn't "wealthy mogul" redundant? Call the squad squad, as William Safire used to say.
A Times review of a movie, "The Green Prince," about a friendship between a Mossad officer and the son of a Hamas leader, reports, "It was released in Israel this spring, as the latest American effort to put together a regional peace plan was falling apart, and is coming out here after a summer-long conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that left more than 2,000 dead and thousands more wounded or homeless."
Describing the summer-long conflict as "between Israel and Hamas in Gaza" inaccurately suggests that the conflict was confined to Gaza. In fact, it also affected parts of Israel, as reporting elsewhere in the Times has made clear. An editor should have deleted the words "in Gaza."
The lead news article on the front page of the Times is a dispatch from Youngstown, Ohio, about a statewide economic boom.
The article reports: "Ohio's unemployment rate in July was 5.7 percent, well below the national average of 6.1 percent." Reader-contributor-watchdog-participant-content co-creator-community member Colin points out that while 5.7 percent is below 6.1 percent, whether it is "well below" is a questionable judgment call. The Times could have avoided it by simply writing, "Ohio's employment rate in July was 5.7 percent; the rate for the nation as a whole was 6.1 percent." Or something like that. Times readers, most of them, are intelligent enough to know that 5.7 is less than 6.1 without the Times explaining it to them.
Times book critic Dwight Garner was last seen here back in April likening religion to masturbation. I noted then:
A Times news article about the sale "last December" of a Manhattan building that was the site of a murder in 1857 concludes as follows:
A Times dispatch from East Hampton about a surfing rabbi includes the following passage:
The passage is inaccurate in at least two respects. First, there's another Orthodox synagogue out there, Chabad Lubavitch of the Hamptons. Second, it doesn't say in the Torah that children must know how to swim. The passage that Ms. Milanaik is reaching for is almost certainly not from the Torah, but from the Talmud, Kiddushin 29a, which says that a father much teach his son Torah, teach him a craft or a trade, "and there are some who say he must also teach him how to swim." It's the Talmud not the Torah, and it's not "children must know how to swim," but just reporting an additional opinion: "there are some who say he must also teach him how to swim."
The Times Sunday metro section carries a left-wing column that goes unbalanced by any right-wing column. The latest column complains about helicopter noise in the Hamptons:
The president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Richard Block, has an article explaining why he canceled his Times subscription after 40 years:
In the category of vile anti-Israel articles, Antony Lerman's "The End of Liberal Zionism" deserves some kind of award. He writes:
No. It wasn't Mr. Netanyahu's decision — which in any event was a decision not made only by Mr. Netanyahu, but by Israel's security cabinet — to launch a military campaign that cost the Israeli lives. It was Hamas's decision to attack Israel from tunnels and with rockets.
The following paragraph appeared on the front page of Saturday's Times, in an article headlined, "Blood Industry Shrinks as Transfusions Decline":
It's not clear, to this reader, at least, what the sentence means. Is the Times trying to tell us that blood bank revenue has declined to $1.5 billion this year from $5 billion in 2008? Or is the Times trying to tell us that blood bank revenue declined $5 billion in 2008 from 2007, and will decline $1.5 billion this year from the year before? Or is the Times trying to tell us that blood bank revenue this year will be $3.5 billion, down from $5 billion in 2008?
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