Thursday, May 20, 2010

Now, New York Times In Flap Over Blumenthal's Vietnam Comments

How quickly things can change. Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a bombshell article, which revealed that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has misstated his military record. During a filmed presentation (and on other ocassions), Blumenthal said that he served in Vietnam, but he never did.

The article created quite a stir. Democratic politicians, however, continue to support Blumenthal, and the controversy might not cost him the upcoming senate election.

The New York Times, however, is now receiving criticism. Apparently, the New York Times failed to disclose potentially exculpatory statements by Blumenthal from the same taped speech in which he falsely stated that he served in Vietnam. During the taped speech, Blumental said that he served during Vietnam in the Marine Corp. reserves; later, however, he referenced his service in Vietnam. The New York Times only presented the most damaging statement.

It is unclear why Blumenthal would make potentially contradictory statements during the same speech (perhaps he truly misspoke). It is equally baffling that the New York Times would eliminate such an important part of the speech.

The New York Times, however, has defended its failure to present the entire context, stating that the earlier portion of the speech is not necessarily exculpatory ("during" does not exclude "in"). To some extent, this is true, but readers should have had the opportunity to evaluate the entire context of the story -- not simply the most damning parts.

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