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New York Times Eats Crow
And you heard it on NRO first.


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The New York Times issued an extraordinary correction today that seemed to take back most of a front-page story printed August 29, “Scouts’ Successful Ban on Gays is Followed by Loss in Support,” and a follow-up editorial which was printed on Sunday. The correction confirmed my story Friday on NRO that the Times report was filled with erroneous information.

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The Times had reported that Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose told the Scouts that they would no longer have access to parks, schools, and municipal sites. Timeswoman Kate Zernike reported that “in the two months since the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America have a constitutional right to exclude gays, corporate and governmental support for the organization has slipped markedly.”

The Times’s long mea culpa this morning makes no mention of NR Online, but admits the mistakes I pointed out Friday. I wrote that the Scouts have not been barred from using parks, schools, and municipal sites, and that “the Scouts continue to enjoy a tremendous amount of support” locally and nationally in polls, even in the two months since the Supreme Court’s decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale.

The Times’s report misstated two cities’ reactions to the Court’s ruling, as well as the timing of the restrictions. Today’s correction says, “Chicago no longer lets the Boy Scouts use parks, city buildings and schools without charge. The public schools of San Francisco no longer sponsor Scout recruitment drives or other programs during school hours. The Scouts are not barred from using parks, schools and other sites….[The restrictions] began before the Supreme Court upheld the ban in June, not afterward.”

The Times also cited the city of San Jose erroneously: “Although one San Jose elementary school district, Alum Rock Union, does not permit recruiting or other Scout programs during school hours, the ban is attributed to demands on instructional time, not the Scouts’ policy.”

In Chicago, San Francisco, and San Jose, the Boy Scouts continue to have the same access to parks, schools, and municipal sites that other similar groups enjoy. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened to change the status of Scouts in the last two months. And, the Times might have added, a majority of Americans continue to support the Boy Scouts’ position.

The Times also admitted to other errors not reported by NR Online, including a statement saying that dozens of United Way organizations have stopped raising funds for the Scouts: “It’s about a dozen, not dozens.” And, in addition, the Times inaccurately reported the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on the ordination of gays: “Ordination requires promise to live a celibate life. While the church condemns homosexual activity, it does not have a policy against ordaining gay men.”

As with all such corrections, it was reported in the interior pages of the “newspaper of record,” while the erroneous story ran on the front page above the fold and was syndicated in at least five cities around the U.S. as well as mentioned in various television reports. The correction comes on the heels of a mea culpa of another splashy front-page story about the North Pole melting that NRO — among many others — also pointed out as erroneous.



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