When challenged on this misreading of the story, one prominent Washington journalist admitted that the false conclusion was not based on either reading Mr. Kissinger’s article [“Kissinger’s writing is so confusing”] or reading the full Times piece. Actually, Mr. Kissinger writes with great clarity on complex issues. But it does take some intellectual rigor to follow his complex but lucid arguments. Later, MSNBC online was repeating as true this word-of-mouth reversal of Mr. Kissinger’s true position. Another of the cable news networks was ready to headline this misreading until Mr. Kissinger’s actual article was pointed out to one of their producers.
As the pre-eminent newspaper in America [and probably the world] the New York Times has a singular responsibility to get its stories right. News outlets around the world rely on the accuracy of its reporting and assume they are not being intentionally misled. It is one thing to add opinion to a news story. But to intentionally mislead and confuse its readers on the newspaper’s top, right, above-the-fold front-page story [presumably a report on the most important event of the day] is a dangerous and disgraceful occurrence.
Curiously, the Times’ lead editorial that day, on Page A18, which was on the same topic, got it factually right. It mentioned all the other dissenting Republicans, but never mentioned Mr. Kissinger.
The New York Times takes pride in being considered America’s newspaper of record. This willful misrepresentation on a story of historic importance will leave a deep and perhaps indelible stain on that reputation.