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This all started a couple of weeks ago when I pointed out that the New York Times had practiced "editorializing by placement" by puttting the story about the plot to blow up JFK Airport "on page THIRTY, the page after the obituaries and the page before the chess column."
A reader sent that along to the editorial page editor of the "Redding Record Searchlight" in Redding California, a guy named Bruce Ross.
Ross has a blog in which, on June 8, he wrote:
"Rich Galen has strong opinion[s] about newspapers but doesn't seem to know much about them. The Sunday NY Times -- at least the national edition -- is finished way early Saturday so it can be printed and distributed around the country (even in little ol' Redding, California). That makes it a poor source for breaking news. I'd bet $100 that it was on the front of the Times' local edition for Sunday."
Yeah, well, the Washington edition of the Sunday NY Times is published in Springfield, Virginia and often contains the previous night's sports scores. And, the story was not on the front [page] of the Times' NYC edition.
On his blog of June 10, Ross wrote this:
"I stand corrected. Here I'm reading my Sunday Times this morning, and I stumble across the new 'public editor's' column, which is about why the editors chose not to play the JFK plot on the front page."
The "Public Editor" thought the placement issue was so important he moved up the official start of his ombudsman column to cover it.
I wrote an e-mail to Mr. Ross (and to his bosses) asking if that kind of non-reporting (about the Sunday Times being put to bed on Saturday and my not knowing squatsola about newspapers and all) would have made the print edition of his newspaper or whether the rules on standards of accuracy are significantly lower for the web-based editions.
I am waiting, still, for an answer. I am also waiting for my $100.
The other day the campaign of Barak Obama sent out a memo detailing the Clintons' connections to India, referring to her as "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)" which, so you don't have to look it up, is in the far northwest corner of India on the border with Pakistan.