New York Times Ombudsman Admits Paper Was Caught in Misrepresentation by LifeSiteNews.com
By John-Henry Westen
NEW YORK, January 2, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Byron Calame, the Public Editor (ombudsman) at the New York Times, in a 1,500 word article published on December 31 in the New York Times, admits that LifeSiteNews.com was correct in exposing a grievous error in reporting by the New York Times Magazine.
In November LifeSiteNews.com published an article titled, “New York Times Caught in Abortion-Promoting Whopper - Infanticide Portrayed as Abortion.”Â Based on information from Julia Sol de Cardenal, a pro-life leader in El Salvador, LifeSiteNews.com pointed out that the cover article in the NYT magazine of April 6 claimed falsely that some women in El Salvador were imprisoned for thirty years for illegal abortions.Â
The author, Jack Hitt, provided as an example the case of Carmen Climaco, a woman whom he visited in prison in El Salvador.Â“The truth,” said Hitt, was that Climaco “had a clandestine abortion at 18 weeks . . .Â something defined as absolutely legal in the United States. It’s just that she’d had an abortion in El Salvador.”
Pro-life leaders provided LifeSiteNews.com with the actual court ruling from the Climaco case.Â The ruling, which LifeSiteNews.com published in full, cited forensic evidence concluding that, rather than an abortion, it was a case of infanticide of a full-term baby who had breathed prior to strangulation.
The New York Times public editor credits LifeSiteNews.com readers with providing the impetus for his corrective article.Â“Complaints about the article began arriving at the paper after an anti-abortion Web site, LifeSiteNews.com, reported on Nov. 27 that the court had found that Ms. Climaco’s pregnancy ended with a full-term live birth,” says Calame writing in the Times. “Seizing on the misleading presentation of the article’s only example of a 30-year jail sentence for an abortion, the site urged viewers to complain to the publisher and the president of The Times. A few came to me,” he writes.
LifeSiteNews.com readers who brought forward their concerns, had their emails rebuffed with form-letter responses from the Times indicating that there was “no reason to doubt the accuracy of the facts as reported.”
Calame notes in his article that Hitt admits to not having even read the final court ruling in the Climaco case.Â Calame adds that the ruling is readily available. “But obtaining the public document isn’t difficult. At my request, a stringer for The Times in El Salvador walked into the court building without making any prior arrangements a few days ago, and minutes later had an official copy of the court ruling,” says Calame. Adding that, “It proved to be the same document as the one disseminated by LifeSiteNews.com.”
Calame points out further that Hitt admits to having his interview with Climaco translated by an unpaid translator from the pro-abortion group IPAS.Â In addition to abortion advocacy, Cardenal - the pro-life leader in El Salvador - points out that IPAS stands to profit financially from the legalization of abortion in El Salvador since it sells vacuum aspirators used for abortion and incomplete abortion.
Calame concludes, “One thing is clear to me, at this point, about the key example of Carmen Climaco. Accuracy and fairness were not pursued with the vigor Times readers have a right to expect.”
Nevertheless, the editors at the New York Times are not yet ready to admit their error.Â Calame reports that Gerald Marzorati, the editor of the magazine while he admitted that after seeing the ruling, “we would have qualified what we said about Ms. Climaco” would neither issue a correction or Editor’s Note.Â He would not even raise the issue of the courts’ findings to those who received their “no reason to doubt” responses.Â
To respectfully express concerns to the New York Times:
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman & Publisher:
Scott H. Heekin-Canedy, President, General Manager
See Calame’s full article in the New York Times:
See LifeSiteNews.com’s original report:
New York Times Caught in Abortion-Promoting Whopper - Infanticide Portrayed as Abortion