The NYT: Accurate, but Misleading

by wfgodbold

The top story on the New York Times’s site this morning (though not in the print version) is on the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya by rioters. The lede on the NYT site states:

Christopher Stevens, the ambassador, was killed along with three others in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It was the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades. [emphasis added]

On the second page, we finally learn this:

According to the State Department, five American ambassadors had been killed by terrorists before the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The most recent was Adolph Dubs, killed after being kidnapped in Afghanistan in 1979. The others were John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala in 1968, Cleo A. Noel, Jr., in Sudan in 1973, Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus in 1974 and Francis E. Meloy, Jr., in Lebanon in 1976. [emphasis added]

Wikipedia says that Dubs was killed on Feb. 14, 1979. That’s more than thirty-three years ago.

While thirty-three years is indeed more than two decades, it is incredibly misleading. A cynical man might notice that by saying “more than two decades,” the NYT implies that it was less than three decades (a range that would put the last ambassador killing in either Reagan’s or Bush I’s terms, instead of in Carter’s).

But I’m sure a respectable, prestigious paper like the Times wouldn’t shade or slant the truth for a mere partisan political advantage…

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