You might remember the post Odd Column Changes From NY Times here after the Patriots had beaten the Jets 45-3 and New York Times columnist William Rhoden has hastily changed up his column about the Patriots, Bill Belichick, Spygate and the Jets.
An article by the Columbia Journalism Review examines the entire situation, and has the Times editors taking responsibility for the situation, acknowledging that:
Since we were out on a limb with both the column and the headline, we should have been sensitive to the fact that any changes we made would override the version that was first published on the Web.
The review concludes by saying:
Sure, breaking news stories evolve in real time, and news organizations have to keep up. And yes, bold-type “UPDATES” have become commonplace in online stories. But the ability to publish multiple versions, to put less emphasis on “definitiveness,” should not give news outlets license to erase the past, as tempting as it may be. Even in opinion columns. Especially not merely for the sake of avoiding embarrassment.
If Rhoden was attempting to avoid embarrassment by switching around the points and premise of his original column, I’d say he failed epically.