Sunday, September 17, 2006

The New York Times Doesn't Really Do Corrections

Note: On September 13th, The New York Times ran twelve corrections, the eight correction was:

September 13, 2006, Wednesday A listing in Arts & Leisure on Sunday in a preview of the new television season and an article in The Arts on Monday about Aaron Sorkin's new television series, ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,'' referred incorrectly to Amanda Peet's role in the series. She previously starred in ''Jack & Jill'' on the WB; her role in ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'' is not her first on television.

We'll leave the article below as it is* [see note at end] and for more on this see "About the Times Select . . .."

"It could be because viewers want to see Matthew Perry in his first show after 'Friends' or Amanda Peet in her first television role."

What's it take to get a correction from the New York Times?

"It could be because viewers want to see Matthew Perry in his first show after 'Friends' or Amanda Peet in her first television role" ran in the paper of no record Monday, September 11th. Author was Bill Carter, title was "'West Wing' to West Coast: TV's Aueter Portrays TV."
Nobody asked The Times to cover entertainment. If they're going to cover it, they need to get their facts right.

Bill Carter writes that Amanda Peet is about to do "her first television role." That's not true.
She's done numerous appearances on TV including Seinfeld, Spin City and multiple episodes of Central Park West. In addition, she starred, with Ivan Sergei, on the WB's Jack& Jill. She played "Jack," as C.I. noted in "No, Bill Carter, Amanda Peet is not about to do 'her first television role'" -- which led a Times loudmouth to e-mail that C.I. probably shouldn't do corrections when "you think a woman played a male character." Times loudmouths probably shouldn't rant in e-mails without knowing their facts. "Jack" was short for Jacqueline (Barret) and played by Amanda Peet; "Jill" was short for (David) Jillefsky and was played by Ivan Sergei. The fact that a loud mouth for the paper of no record could sound off without feeling the need to check (just knew if the nursery rhyme made Jack the guy and Jill the gal, a TV show must do the same) goes a long way to explaining how these types of errors appear in the paper of no record to begin with.

But how do they go uncorrected?

Warner Bros. UK site for the show can be utilized by loudmouths who'd like to do some basic research before writing. (The site only covers the first season -- the show lasted two seasons.) But the question remains, why can't the paper correct their mistake?

There's been no correction on the inside page of the main section all week and there's no correction to the article online currently. Times readers were told that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip features "Amanda Peet in her first television role." That's factually incorrect. There have been single-guest shorts, there has been a role on a daytime drama (One Life to Live), multiple guest appearances on Central Park West and she was one of the two main stars in Jack & Jill. Possibly, just because a press-created genius tells a reporter something doesn't make it true and it's probably best for reporters to confirm the 'facts' given them before rushing them into print.

It's also interesting that a real life person who was supposedly -- the way the press spun it in the 90s -- involved with Matthew Perry is name checked in the article but Carter seems unaware of her supposed relationship with Perry when Friends was becoming a hit on NBC. From the article: "And you know, people are saying the character played by Amanda is supposed to be Jamie Tarses." Jamie Tarses, one of the many rushing to claim credit for Friends and someone who later 'distinguished' herself as company hatchet person for Ellen when she moved over to ABC. If Peet's portraying Tarses, it's a very airbrushed portrait.

The Times doesn't do corrections unless they're forced to. There is no new 'openess' in the wake of Jayson Blair and when something as basic as whether or not an actress is doing her first TV role makes it into the paper and is never corrected, that tells you all you need to know about the paper of no record's correction policy.

Here's how their A2 motto should read:

The Times welcomes comments and suggestions, or complaints about errors that warrant correction because we love to laugh at readers who think we actually give a damn about a word we publish. Messages on news coverage can be e-mailed to or left toll free at 1-888-NYT-NEWS (1-888-698-6397). We're a bored group of people and we appreciate any and every laugh we can get at readers expense so please e-mail and call.

[*Note: Left "as is" because we have no problem admitting our mistakes. We're not going to rewrite something to make it appear like we didn't make an error. We did, the correction ran September 13th.]
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