NYT Disappears Blog Post

mediadecoder_mainRebecca Ruiz of the NYT Media Decoder blog wrote a post titled “NYTPicker Revealed. A Blogger With A Cause: Us,” revealing David Blum as the anonymous blogger behind NYTPicker, that got picked up on Memeorandum. It has disappeared.   Presumably,  this is because — as The Editors inform us in a subsequent post — the information contained in said post was erroneous, based on unconfirmed rumor.

But why not, as is longstanding custom in the blogosphere, leave up the original post with an appended correction? Glynnis MacNicol:

Um, yes, except how did the post get up there in the first place? And once it was up who okay’d its removal? These are not small questions — removing a post in its entirety, particularly if it’s because of faulty sourcing on the writer’s part, is shady business indeed. And the cutesy closer is even more off-putting: “What will NYTPick.com say about using anonymous sources to out anonymous bloggers? We may find out.” Not funny. Nor should the NYT.com be looking to anonymous bloggers (even those as good as the people behind NYTPicker) to play managing editor for them. Someone screwed up here, and at this stage of the game the NYT.com should know that transparency is as important as getting the facts straight.

What’s worse, NYT pulled the post and only put up the subsequent “update” post after they’d been caught by Michael Calderone. One presumes that no such “update” would have been made otherwise.

The nature of blogging is such that, even moreso than traditional journalism, there’s a premium on speed.  I don’t expect that there will be multi-layered editing on blogs, even at NYT. So errors are going to be made.  But attempting to hide them in this manner is indeed “shady business.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.