News Story

New York Times Fits Narrative By Misreporting CapCon Article

Request for correction gets a form letter, no correction

The New York Times recently ran a story that highlighted a Michigan Capitol Confidential report. The Oct. 21 piece was about a group of startup websites designed to look like local newspapers. The story said that the nearly 40 websites appeared to have a “distinctly conservative political tone.”

To advance that view, the New York Times article described a Michigan Capitol Confidential report that had been cited by and linked to in one of the news sites it mentioned, the Lansing Sun. According to The New York Times, the Michigan Capitol Confidential report was “an article about Michigan’s roads spending that criticized the state’s Democratic governor.”

Except, the Michigan Capitol Confidential article did not criticize Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The article quoted Republican State Rep. Matt Maddock, who praised Whitmer for agreeing to approve a state budget, calling it a very wise decision.

The Michigan Capitol Confidential story can be read here.

Michigan Capitol Confidential officially requested a correction from the Times.

On Oct. 22, the New York Times responded by email saying it has received the request for a correction.

“THANK YOU for writing The New York Times newsroom. We are grateful to readers who take the time to help us report thoroughly and accurately. Your message will reach the appropriate editor or reporter promptly,” the email read.

The email had this section about publisher’s correction policy:

“ACCURACY: If you have pointed out an error, the article will be corrected online and a correction appended; a correction will also appear in print editions as soon as possible. Corrections for articles in weekly sections usually appear in those sections. Because dozens of readers often point out the same error, we cannot notify each person that we are publishing a correction. Please accept our thanks now for having pointed out the error.”

“When an issue of accuracy is raised, at least three editors review the query. Often re-reporting is requested; sometimes the issue is turned over to our research department. Because of the volume of queries we receive, we are not able to send a response explaining why we decided no correction is necessary. But please know that every query about a possible error is taken seriously and thoroughly considered.”

The New York Time had not corrected the inaccurate description of the Michigan Capitol Confidential story as of Oct. 28 and did not respond to a follow-up Oct. 23 email again requesting a correction.