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Friday, July 26, 2013

Michelle Meyer en fuego (updated twice!)

Let's face it, this is a dispiriting turn of events. H/t to Adler.

I have deep affection for TNR (though I find the new regime prone to putting out more fluffy stuff in the magazine). What's more, I also like a lot of what I've read of Richard Thompson Ford's work before. But this non-correction correction is pretty embarrassing. Richard Thompson Ford's piece on the Zimmerman verdict was marred by some critical errors and inferences on the facts, which were brought to the editors' attention (and possibly his?), and I would think all the parties involved would want a real correction and not, as Michelle puts it ably, a correction that works a "double-down" on misleading information in a charged matter.

Update 1:

Oy, it just gets worse (again Jonathan H. Adler is on the case): "The article has been revised again. Now the statement reads: “Zimmerman was an edgy basket case with a gun who had called the police 46 times in 15 months.” This is still inaccurate, as the calls were made over several years, not 15 months. Moreover, the additional corrections are not noted in the editor’s note at the bottom."

Update 2: TNR editors have largely come to their senses. They have now further corrected the false facts entirely and acknowledged the stream of errors in the latest version, but they still leave in Ford's pejorative claims that Zimmerman was an "edgy basketcase," when the whole basis for that claim in the original sentence has been undermined. Maybe I'm wrong but a neighborhood watch guy who calls 46 times over 8 years is not, on those facts alone, enough to make him an "edgy basketcase." You'd have to be relying on other evidence, presumably from something else besides the night Trayvon Martin was unfortunately killed, to reach that inference.

Posted by Dan Markel on July 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM in Article Spotlight, Blogging, Current Affairs | Permalink

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Thanks, Dan. Although now I have that Alicia Keys song stuck in my head.

Posted by: Michelle Meyer | Jul 27, 2013 9:49:30 AM

I am glad they corrected the record but these sort of things tend to be cited selectively. Sadly, especially in ideological media, there is lax editorial oversight and even when it is pointed out (though to be fair, certain things get a lot more attention, making this less likely in most cases), there is an opposition to changing it.

The quote by Ms. Meyer from Richard Thompson Ford is a wicked appropriate one. He should himself put out a mea culpa. One specific thing that continues to amaze me is the reference of many to the 'all white' jury. I read an account of the non-white juror yesterday and a picture was provided. I believe she self-identifies as Puerto Rican. I guess this might be considered 'white' by some people, but looking at her picture, that isn't what I would think.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 27, 2013 12:20:13 PM

I read the article and the author's thesis was the unfairness of the criminal justice system. The number of times Zimmerman called the police and whether he was an "edgy basektcase" had nothing to do with the larger point the author was trying to make. He was making the point with which I agree that there aren't many black men who would shoot a white 17 year old, provide an inconsistent account of what happened and then be acquitted.

Posted by: Ken | Jul 29, 2013 4:32:10 PM

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