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More Fact-Checking

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

mcphee

In my previous post, I mentioned a correction that appeared on the NYT’s op-ed page Thursday and raised the question of whether they do fact-checking anymore. I saw the correction in the morning. Coincidentally, when I got home Thursday night, I opened the newly-arrived issue of the New Yorker and found an article on fact-checking by John McPhee. (My link goes to the abstract only, since the article isn’t available for free.) It’s a short piece about New Yorker fact-checking policies and some of his own experiences over the years. And of course it’s a delight to read.

If you have access to the article, be sure to read it. Here’s a taste:

The worst checking error is calling people dead who are not dead. In the words of [fact-checker] Josh Hersh, “It really annoys them.” [Famed New Yorker fact-checker] Sara remembers a reader in a nursing home who read in The New Yorker that he was “the late” reader in the nursing home. He wrote demanding a correction. The New Yorker, in its next issue, of course complied, inadvertently doubling the error, because the reader died over the weekend while the magazine was being printed.

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