UPDATE: 'NYT' Runs Correction After 'Wash Times' Editor Slams Its Depiction of His Paper

By: Joe Strupp Executive Editor John Solomon of The Washington Times is criticizing a New York Times story today that describes his newspaper as "decidedly opposed" to President Barack Obama.

The story looks at the myths and roots of the "death panel" rumor those opposed to Obama's health care plan have created.

The story, by Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes, includes a paragraph that states:

"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."

Solomon today told E&P that he found that characterization unfair, adding "it calls the entire newspaper decidedly opposed to Obama. I would say it is wrong, inaccurate, irresponsible and insulting."

He also issued the following statement:

"We don't begrudge any news organization the right to report on issues important to its readership. But it is wrong, inaccurate, irresponsible and insulting for the New York Times to brand an entire newspaper as 'decidedly opposed' to President Obama because of the voice of its editorial pages. Nothing can be further from the truth when it comes to our newsroom. Our news pages have no agenda except to accurately and fairly cover the news, including that made by the administration. When I took over as Executive Editor I asked that the editorial and opinion pages be taken out from under my leadership so that there could be a bright line between opinion and news within the daily operation of the newspaper. If the New York Times had paid the courtesy of calling us for fair comment before publishing this morning, we could have reminded them of that. But they didn't even practice that basic tenet of journalism."

Both Rutenberg and Calmes told E&P their description was directed at The Washington Times' editorial page, not the news side. "I think those guys are great, they break stuff all the time," Rutenberg told E&P, referring to Solomon's news staff. "I didn't mean to put them in the same category as the editorial page."

Calmes agreed, adding: "Having spent 18 good years at The Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau, I am sensitive about distinctions between news pages and editorial pages."

UPDATE: The New York Times ran this correction on Saturday:

"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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