CBS News’ claim that its reporting is subject to “checks and balances” unknown in the blogosphere, and is therefore reliable, has been subject to much derision. The question of the reliability of mainstream news coverage is one that we have addressed many times; among other things, we have had a lot of fun at the expense of the New York Times, whose daily corrections section is a frequent source of hilarity. The Times’ own admissions of error document an astonishing number of instances not only of sloppy reporting, but of a lack of basic, high-school level knowledge of such subjects as history, literature, arithmetic and science. If you search our site for “New York Times correction,” you will find a treasure trove of such amusing corrections.
Today’s Times corrections section brings together these two themes of Rathergate and of the Times’ lack of reliability:
The [September 15] article also misidentified the position held by Mr. Bush’s father in the early 1970’s. (That error also occurred on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday in articles about the memos.) The elder Mr. Bush was ambassador to the United Nations from 1971 to January 1973, and chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1973 to 1974. He was no longer a Texas congressman. (Go to Sept. 15 Article), (Go to Sept. 14 Article), (Go to Sept. 12 Article), (Go to Sept. 11 Article)
So the Times incorrectly reported the elder George Bush’s position in the early 70’s four times. And the error was not inconsequential; the Times cited Bush’s supposed status as a Texas Congressman as an implicit explanation of the purportedly favored treatment received by his son in the TANG.
When we started reporting the National Guard story, I did a Google search to make sure that I had the chronology of the elder President Bush’s career straight. It took less than five minutes, but apparently that represented more effort than the New York Times can be bothered with.
Is Power Line a more reliable source of information than the New York Times? That’s damning with faint praise, but, for what it’s worth, we are.