1) The print and Web versions of today's Times include a correction for the Slater story. Yet no correction has been attached directly to the Web version of the story. If it's so easy to "correct errors quickly" on the Web, as Shaw writes, what's keeping the Times? Even a junior blogger would have posted a correction to copy as faulty as this by now.
2) Maybe Slater's understanding that four editors were back-stopping him and his copy induced the complacency that caused the errors and the misrepresentation. Do safety nets encourage the notion that accuracy is a collective rather than an individual responsibility? Perhaps newspaper reporters would demonstrate greater vigilance if they had fewer editors. (Mickey Kaus, who's wasted fewer years of his life editing bad copy than I,speculates in Kausfilesthat four-layer over-editing drains the Times of writerly vitality.)
Shaw's insistence that the reporter's privilege be reserved for professionals would put the government in the business of deciding who is and who is not a professional, therefore who is a journalist, which would constitute an embryonic form of licensing. But as Jacob Weisberg recently noted in Slate, "Journalism does not require any specific training, or institutional certification, or organizational membership, or even regular employment. It's just an activity some people engage in that is protected under the Constitution." The reporter's privilege should protect acts of journalism as opposed to journalists—professional or otherwise.
Such a generous definition would even apply to the Los Angeles Times on its bad days.
[Addendum, 4/1: The Times has now added the correction to the Web version of his Chico article.]
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.