Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Doubting Toms

Tom Maguire has a post speculating that the decrease in reader complaints to the New York Times is more a function of reader frustration than Times accuracy. Maguire says that readers such as himself may have simply stopped emailing the Times with corrections since they are mostly ignored.

Let's assume for the moment that the New York Times actually does have some sort of ostrich-like policy on corrections sent in by readers. If people like Maguire give up on pointing out the errors, doesn't that mean that, from the Times's point of view, their policy has succeeded? After all, journalism functions not on Kantian principles of Truth, but on the Glass Rule: If you can't find an error, it doesn't exist. (And don't forget the Kinsley Postulate: If you find the error, it doesn't exist until you can definitively prove the writer wrong AND the New York Times sends a team of reporters to duplicate your proof.)

Maguire and others shouldn't let a lack of feedback from the Times get them down. All writers make mistakes. And at the end of the day, all writers are better off for having their mistakes noticed.

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