"gathering riven by hate"
September 4, 2001 2:53 PM   Subscribe

"gathering riven by hate" becomes "United Nations meeting on racism." it's the same article in the Times, same writer, only rearranged and with less bias. on the front page of the Times, the latter has replaced the former.

does this happen often? can't they just get it right the first time?
posted by zerolucid (1 comment total)

First, after a careful comparison, I think you're dramatically overstating the editorial changes. It wasn't rearranged. Parts were added -- about 4-6 paragraphs -- to the later article that reported new information about South Africa's salvage attempts, and the opening paragraph was altered to reflect a more hopeful tone. I do not agree that the earlier article showed "more bias" as you imply. Note that the "gathering riven by hate" phrasing was attributed to representatives of the US and Israel.

Does this happen often? Are you honestly asking this? Of course this happens -- all the time. Read some raw Reuters or AP wire stories over the course of a day. The same story will be released multiple times with updates and tweaks. Attributions or quotes will be corrected, reportage will be added, sidebars and supporting articles will be added. A newspaper can rely on a single overview wire story about the shark attack, or they can use a longer one with more human interest and a sidebar about shark attacks worldwide and an interview with the grandmother. The newspaper may cut these up and use them to fill the space allotted by its editor and ideally reconcile contradictions between the articles, but none of that is guaranteed.

Especially in an online, cable-news 24-hour news cycle, there's absolutely no reason to expect that an article will be written once and not touched for another day. It's just not the way the news business works, anymore. Would you object to CNN Headline News changing the story it runs at 2 p.m. from the one it ran at 7:30 a.m.? Why would you object to it happening on a newspaper's website?
posted by dhartung at 5:02 PM on September 4, 2001

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