A statistic 1,000 times too small doesn’t warrant a correction in the NY Times

A statistic 1,000 times too small doesn’t warrant a correction in the NY Times

Four days after a major error about Gazans was published in a front page article, the Times has still failed to publish a correction, even after editors determined a correction was required.

The following letter was sent to New York Times editors:

To New York Times Editors:

The Times has failed to run a correction about an extremely erroneous statement that you published in Sunday’s New York Times.

A front page article stated that there have been “scores of civilian casualties” in Gaza. (A “score” is 20. “Casualties” means people killed or injured.)

In reality, there have been tens of thousands of such casualties: Israeli forces have killed over 33,000 Palestinians and injured over 76,000 people, over half of them women and children.

Times’ editors clearly determined that the article was mistaken and on Sunday afternoon changed it online to say: “The death toll in Gaza has reached 33,000.”

However, the many New York Times readers who read the article in the print version, and the many additional individuals who read it online before the correction was made, are not aware that they were misinformed.

The New York Times’ own statements say that the paper is required to publish a correction when there has been a mistake:

“The Times’s primary responsibility is to give readers accurate information, and our readers trust us to do that. By acknowledging our mistakes quickly and transparently, we build on that fundamental trust.”

– Rogene Jacquette, corrections editor

“We recognize an ethical responsibility to correct all factual errors, large and small, promptly and in a prominent space. We encourage readers to reach out to us at [email protected] when they spot a possible mistake.”

Yet, even after many people have informed the Times of this mistake, and even after your own editors determined that the article needed to be corrected, the Times continues to fail to publish the required correction.

I find it impossible to understand why the Times’ editors have refused to follow the Times’ own guidelines on a mistake involving lives and deaths, while the paper has published corrections about errors of relatively minimal significance, including misspellings.

A few examples:

“A ‘Word Through The Times’ article on Sunday about the history of stereotype printing misspelled in one instance the surname of the managing director of the production department at The Times’s printing plant in Queens. He is Mike Connors, not Conners.”

“An obituary on Monday about the former star N.F.L. quarterback Roman Gabriel misspelled the given name of a former tight end who played for the Philadelphia Eagles when Gabriel was on the team. He is Charle Young, not Charles.”

I hope you will reconsider your abdication of ethical principles, and that you will publish the required correction in the print and digital New York Times.


Alison Weir
Executive Director
If Americans Knew

The online article states: “A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2024, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: $95 Billion Bill For Three Allies Passes in House.”



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