The New York Times Corrects Fake News, Three Weeks Late

I wrote here about an extraordinarily inept New York Times article that had already been corrected once. The author, Jennifer Steinhauer, didn’t understand the constitutional role of the Vice President in the Senate; that was the first correction.

I pointed out that the Times article contained a second error, equally egregious but so far unacknowledged:

The Times also grossly mischaracterizes the Congressional Review Act, the statute under which yesterday’s vote took place:

The measure fell under a somewhat obscure and, until recently, rarely used Congressional Review Act that allows a new Congress to undo actions of the old Congress during the first few months of the year.

Again, the Times’s ignorance is appalling. The Congressional Review Act has nothing to do with “undo[ing] actions of the old Congress.” (A current Congress can always undo the actions of any past Congress, if it has the votes and the president’s signature.) Rather, the CRA provides a procedure whereby Congress can disapprove and nullify regulatory rules issued by federal agencies. It is incredible that the Times employs a reporter who writes for its “Politics” section and does not know this.

Despite my pointing out this obvious error, nothing happened. Weeks went by, until finally the following correction appeared this morning:

An article on March 31 about Congressional efforts to undo an Obama administration rule preventing states from blocking funding for family planning clinics that also provide abortions misstated the purpose of the Congressional Review Act. The law allows a new Congress to undo regulatory actions completed in the final weeks of a previous presidential administration, not the actions of a previous Congress.

What took so long? My guess is the Times was embarrassed by the multiple mistakes in this article, and didn’t want to make it obvious that its editors missed the CRA error the first time, and only corrected it in response to our post. Perhaps they thought that if they waited three weeks, no one would notice.

Be that as it may, this is one more reminder that no one should assume that “news” reported in the New York Times is reliable.