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Thursday, August 21, 2014

'NYT' Public Ed. Hits Paper's 'New Witnesses" in Ferguson Story

Update:  O'Donnell returned tonight by natually citing public editor, and going after the paper's response in her column.  Also pointed out that an editorial in the paper, like the news story, claimed wrongly that witness accounts "differ sharply"--at least from what we know. 

Earlier:  I tweeted last night about Lawrence O'Donnell's strong takedown of that NYT story yesterday based mainly on anonymous sources that suggested that maybe a bunch of witnesses either backed Officer Wilson's account of at least disputed others on killing of Mike Brown.   Now that paper's public editor Margaret Sullivan joins in.
I’ll grant that the Ferguson story is a difficult one to report, with dangerous conditions for reporters and photographers, relentless deadlines and shifting story lines. The Times has generally covered it accurately and well, from all that I can see.
But this article doesn’t measure up, for the reasons detailed above.  The Times is asking readers to trust its sourcing, without nearly enough specificity or detail; and it sets up an apparently equal dichotomy between named eyewitnesses on one hand and ghosts on the other.

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