September 6, 2003

DAVE KOPEL REVIEWS THE NEW YORK TIMES’ REPORTING ON GUNS and finds it riddled with amateurish errors and apparent deception:

Interestingly, the Times, and its lead reporter on gun issues, Fox Butterfield, were recently acquitted of libel in a case involving a story having nothing to do with guns, the Sam Sheppard murder case. According to the May 23 AP report, Butterfield and the Times won despite the jury’s finding that the article he wrote was “not substantially true” and involved false and defamatory statements. His victory was based on a finding that there was “no malicious intent.” Supporting the jury’s finding that there was no malice was the Times’s prompt publication of a correction, once the paper learned about the error in Butterfield’s story.

Regarding firearms coverage, the case for actual malice and reckless disregard of the truth by the Times is much stronger.

And it’s not just Fox Butterfield who’s at fault. And Kopel has plenty of examples.

UPDATE: Tim Lambert emails to point out that this Kopel article contains an error that was corrected in “The Corner,” but never in the text of the article itself. I’ve noticed in the past that NRO seems to have problems correcting articles once they’re published online, something that all Big Media folks seem to be worse at than bloggers. Notably, however, Lambert doesn’t try to defend Fox Butterfield.

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