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Friday, December 18, 2015

An Odd Edit

Sean Davis reports at The Federalist:
A story published by the New York Times late Thursday night caused some major media waves. The story, which was written by reporters Peter Baker and Gardiner Harris, included a remarkable admission by Obama about his response to the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
By Friday morning, however, the entire passage containing Obama’s admission had been erased from the story without any explanation from the New York Times. Here’s the passage that was included in the story when it was published Thursday night, courtesy of CNN’s Brian Stelter:
In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments. Republicans were telling Americans that he is not doing anything when he is doing a lot, he said.
The unexplained deletion of that major passage wasn’t the only significant change made to the story since it was first published. New York Times editors also changed the story’s headline four separate times, according Each headline revision either put Obama in a better light or put the GOP in a worse one.

UPDATE: The New York Times claimed in a statement late Friday morning that its deletion of the Obama passage was not “unusual” and that it was merely “trimmed for space in the print paper”...

The problem with this explanation is that it doesn’t make any sense when you review the first major online revision, which archived at 10:21 p.m. EST. In that version, only one substantive revision was made: the paragraph about Obama not watching enough cable TV was removed and replaced with two paragraphs about Obama’s plan to combat ISIS.
The section that was removed contained 66 words. The section that was added in its place contained 116 words. If the New York Times was indeed “trimming for space” in that particular revision, it will need to explain why its revision to that section added 50 words.