NY Times on Rhoden Column Switch: “We goofed.”

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.

Random Quote

This is the ultimate dilemma. Of course fans want the Red Sox to win the World Series, but the dilemma is be careful what you wish for because you might get it. And if the Red Sox played the Cubs in the World Series, one of those two franchises will be permanently and forever altered. One of them will never be the same. So remember, while winning is the ultimate goal. If you’re a Sox fan or a Cubs fan, it carries a steep price tag. Life will never be the same.

— Bob Lobel, Boston.com chat 10/9/2003
  • Dale Arnold


    What is the deal with the forum? I used to visit the forum on occasion to read the discussion. Now I have to pay $20.00 directly to you via paypal just to read the forum? That seems a little absurd.

    Love this site. Keep up the good work.

    • Dan

      $20 seems a small price to pay for show prep.

  • GreekFreak

    Should have got in when it was $15.

  • NutCracker

    Has William Rhoden EVER wrote anything complimentary about ANY Boston team? The answer is no. If you've heard him on the Sports Reporters he always trashes anything Boston. This is the guy who wrote the book about black athletes being nothing but slaves for white sport team owners. He's a fool.

  • Brian

    Dale is just dying to get my take on the sports news of the day.

  • latetodinner

    At some level we need to again thank websites like BSMW for continually holding media outlets like the Times and the Globe accountable for the shoddy work of their employees. One would think this is the editors job…alas it isn't.So another NY Times writer is exposed as a hack and a fraud. Too bad that stopped being news several years ago.

  • cakes_are_cooking

    Ahhh, the NY Times. Jayson Blair, Judith Miller, Rick Bragg. It doesn't change.

    Have you seen the NYT's TV subscription ad? In the ad, an actor states "the best reporters in the world work for the Times. And about that, there's just no debate." I can think of plenty of cause to debate it.

  • Jon

    I hate to pile on the Times: I think a lot of the criticism comes from the knee jerk "I hate the Liberal Media" camp, but come on. You write a dumb article and your Jets gets humiliated by a team of retrograde "cheaters". At least have the stones to admit you were stupid.