Baquet of 'N.Y. Times' Apologizes For 'Washington Times' Flap

By: Joe Strupp Dean Baquet, Washington bureau chief for The New York Times, tells E&P he apologized to Executive Editor John Solomon of The Washington Times for a story last week that stated Solomon's paper was "decidedly opposed" to Barack Obama.

In an e-mail to E&P, Baquet stated: "Regarding the Washington Times matter, John Solomon is right. We did not mean to imply the Washington Times newsroom is biased or partisan. We were referring to the well-known positions taken by the editorial page. I told John we made a mistake, and he graciously accepted my apology."

The dispute stemmed from a story in Friday's New York Times about the false and misleading rumors that President Obama's health care plan included so-called "death panels." In the story, reporters Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes, wrote: "The specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia was raised as early as Nov. 23, just weeks after the election and long before any legislation had been drafted, by an outlet decidedly opposed to Mr. Obama, The Washington Times."

That story led to a lengthy complaint from Solomon to E&P on Friday, in which he called the coverage "wrong, inaccurate, irresponsible and insulting." Both Rutenberg and Calmes told E&P they meant to refer to the Washington Times' editorial pages, not the entire newspaper.

On Saturday, The New York Times published a correction that made the same clarification, stating: "An article on Friday about the origins of the false rumor that President Obama's health care proposals would create government-sponsored panels to decide which patients were worthy of living referred imprecisely to the stance of The Washington Times, which shortly after the election published an editorial comparing some positions of the incoming administration to the euthanasia policies of the Third Reich. In describing the newspaper as 'an outlet decidedly opposed to Mr. Obama,' the article was referring to its opinion pages, not to its news pages."


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