Other Than That, the Story Was Accurate

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on January 30, 2015

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

Other Than That, the Story Was Accurate

  • “Due to a typographical error, this blog post initially referred to the ‘Snopes’ saga instead of ‘Scopes,’ in reference to the Scopes Monkey Trial.”—New York Times website, Jan. 17
  • “UPDATE: This post originally ran under the headline suggesting 2014 may have been the warmest year in the past 5,000. I’ve since spoken directly with the scientist, Don Wuebbles of the University of Illinois, who was quoted to that effect in other publications and he clarified that the data reaching back that far is less certain than data going back 1,700 to 2,000 years and that he would give much less weight to the 5,000 year claim.”—Eric Mack, Forbes .com, Jan. 18

‘Absolutely No Bias’
Margaret Sullivan, letters editor of the New York Times, got a letter from a reader named Celeste Royce, who reports having noticed “over the years” that “a preponderance of the names of letter writers appear to be male.” As an example, she does a census of the letters page for a week in December and finds that “apparent male authors” accounted for a majority of letters published on six of seven days.

Sullivan puts the question to the apparent male letters editor, Thomas Feyer, who responds that “over all, more of our letter writers are men than women, and so the pool of men is larger. But on some subjects, more women write in.” Example: Monday’s letters page led with five letters about an article titled “Mean Girls in the Retirement Home”—four from women and one from a man. But “on the page as a whole, it’s five men, four women.”

Feyer concludes: “Of the three letters editors for the daily page, two are women, and we all play a role in selecting letters. Our art director is a woman. We have absolutely no bias against women who write letters to The Times.”

We don’t doubt that’s true. But would the Times accept such an assurance from any other institution?

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”