‘NY Times’ Relents, Admits Geraldo Not Guilty of a (Literal) ‘Nudge’

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By: E&P Staff

Under criticism from outside and within, The New York Times, in an editors’ note today, admitted that its latest review of the incident found that Fox News’ personality Geraldo Rivera did not, literally, “nudge” his way into a Hurricane Katrina rescue three weeks ago.

But it continued to defend its TV critic, Alessandra Stanley, and said that she meant “nudge” only figuratively.

The Times, which has held firm on this dispute until today, was most recently criticized by its public editor, Byron Calame, on Sunday, and in a letter from the National Associaiton of Hispanic Journalists, among others.

Rivera has threatened a lawsuit and his response to the Times’ note is not yet known.

The editors’ note today reads:

“The TV Watch column on Sept. 5 discussed broadcast journalists’ undisguised outrage at the failings of Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. It said reporters had helped stranded victims because no police officers or rescue workers were around, and added, ‘Fox’s Geraldo Rivera did his rivals one better: yesterday, he nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety.’

“The editors understood the ‘nudge’ comment as the television critic’s figurative reference to Mr. Rivera’s flamboyant intervention. Mr. Rivera complained, but after reviewing a tape of his broadcast, The Times declined to publish a correction.

“Numerous readers, however – now including Byron Calame, the newspaper’s public editor, who also scrutinized the tape – read the comment as a factual assertion. The Times acknowledges that no nudge was visible on the broadcast.”

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