Having already caught "the infamous GOP talking point that the stimulus package contains gobs of cash for saving marsh mice" having "found its way into a New York Times story, without the paper mentioning that the claim is untrue," blogger Greg Sargent (Plum Line, 2/24/09) now finds that "earlier drafts of the story did describe the claim as 'misleading'–but Times editors removed that description from the copy":
A reader tells me that he emailed the author of the story, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, to discuss the omission. Here is part of her reply to him in her email, which I obtained:
I did write in the story I submitted that the assertion was misleading, but IÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢m sorry to report that language was removed by editors and that I didnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t notice the deletion. My initial text read like this:
'ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬Ãƒâ€šÂ¦.as Republicans decry, often misleadingly, what they see as pork-barrel spending for projects like marsh mouse preservation.ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬Ãƒâ€šÂ [Sargent's emphasis]
So the words 'often misleadinglyÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬Ãƒâ€šÂ were removed by editors.
Often such editing decisions are made in haste or to save space. But this was only two words, and itÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s worth recalling that the notion that there was millions in the bill to save the marsh mouse in Nancy PelosiÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s district isnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t just some garden variety talking point. It has been a major component of GOP push-back for weeks, repeated by high profile GOP officials in all sorts of settings.
Stolberg's contention that "wording as published was not inaccurate" is refuted by the simple observation by Sargent that "the story doesnÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢t note that there are no such funds in the bill"–to the contrary, "the paper removed its own reporterÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s assertion that it was 'misleading' before publishing." Besides, we all know how much corporate media economic reporters love news about critters….