Wednesday, April 07, 2004

What's the story behind this story?

Chris Lawrence at the blog Signifying Nothing points out some kooky passages in this New York Times story by David Stout that appears on the Web. Some examples (with emphasis mine):
Regardless of the real figure, President Bush has threatened to veto the measure as too costly at a time that he and Congressional Republicans are supposed to be serious about holding down the federal deficit.
They're supposed to be serious about? Is the author implying they're not serious? Is this a news story or an editorial?
"Thirty billion, when you are cutting the deficit in half in five years, is real money," Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said the other day, apparently with no humor intended.
I'm guessing that the author was too busy with asides about Duffy's humor to look up the date.

There are a couple of other weirdly worded passages and sloppy editing ("spending over $256 billion over six years" and "their constituents use highways [and bridges and bike paths and other incidentals wrapped into the bill.])

What's the story behind this story?

The Memory Hole points out a similar passage by Stout, about the CIA leak, in October that the New York Times deleted from the story (without noting):
The scandal over the leak is hard to define in one or two sentences. It does not seem to involve issues of constitutional gravity, like Watergate or the Iran-contra affair, or at least not directly. It does not have to do with greed. Nor does it seem to involve matters of national security.
Now, every reporter makes mistakes. (And every copy editor, too.) I'm just wondering if this is stuff that slipped by a copy editor before it made it to the Web, or if that copy isn't always being edited before it is published.

>Odd stuff in the Times [Signifying Nothing]
>House Backs Highway-Spending Bill [New York Times]
>New York Times Deletes Paragraph in Article on Plame Affair [The Memory Hole]


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