July 17, 2012 · 1 Comments
From: Marie Burns
To: Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times Editorial Pages Editor
Greg Brock, New York Times Corrections Editor
In his New York Times column today, David Brooks writes, “The president is now running an ad showing Mitt Romney tunelessly singing ‘America the Beautiful,’ while the text on screen blasts him for shipping jobs to China, India and Mexico. The accuracy of the ad has been questioned by the various fact-checking outfits.” (You can view the ad here.)
I am aware of three major “fact-checking outfits”: PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post.
PolitiFact rated only part of the ad. It assessed that part as true.
Brooks can only pretend PolitiFact “questioned” the ad if by “questioned,” he meant “checked.” But that is not the way most readers would interpret Brooks’ meaning. A reader would surmise that Brooks’ intent was to suggest that independent organizations had deemed the ad “questionable,” or “inaccurate” or “misleading.”
Even if you apply an overly-generous reading and interpret Brooks to mean, “The accuracy of the ad has been checked by the various fact-checking outfits,” his statement is untrue since only one “fact-checking outfit” “checked” the ad, not “various outfits.”
Neither FactCheck.org nor Kessler has reviewed the ad. (On March 2012, Kessler assessed a related remark by Vice President Biden, and gave the Vice President two “Pinocchios,” a rating which means Kessler thinks Mr. Biden was guilty of making “significant omissions and/or exaggerations.” However, the March assessment was specific to the Vice President’s extended remarks and of course does not comment on the accuracy of an ad produced in July. [Only Romney himself has the power to time-travel [see “he retired retroactively”].)
Please ask David Brooks to provide evidence of his assertion. If he can provide none, please print a correction.
And, whatever action you take (or don’t take), I look forward to hearing from you directly on this. Thank you,
New York Times eXaminer