NYT Columnists Need Better Editors
Think Progress‘ Matt Corley notes that for the NYT has been forced to append a correction on a Bill Kristol column for an egregious factual error. Citing Obama’s 41 point loss in West Virginia, Kristol exclaimed, “I can’t find a single recent instance of a candidate who ultimately became his party’s nominee losing a primary by this kind of margin.” In fact, Mike Huckabee won his native Arkansas by 41 points and Mitt Romney took Utah by nearly 90 points in a single day this cycle.
John Cole quips, “I am noticing a trend here. Kristol claims government is inefficient, ineffective, and bad, gets a bunch of his buddies elected, and proves it. He also rails against the MSM, claims they can’t get their facts straight, gets a job at the NY Times, and proves it.”
It’s noteworthy, too, that Kristol’s colleague, David Brooks, made a similar error earlier in the week, claiming that Obama had voted for a farm bill which he merely endorsed without casting a vote. These are dumb errors and one would think NYT fact checkers could find these things before going live. Columns aren’t published at blog speed, after all, and they have a staff of greater than one.
In fairness to Kristol and Brooks, though, their essential points worked with the real facts. Obama did in fact support and fail to vote against a farm bill that he surely would agree was a bad law. And Obama’s loss in a head-to-head race with a single candidate was staggering. There were 21 states voting and multiple candidates still running on Super Tuesday; McCain strategically avoided gimme states for his opponents and concentrated on consolidating victory. (Kristol’s larger argument, that this says much of anything about the general election, however, still strikes me as unpersuasive.)