Scott Tibbs
blog post
January 2nd, 2005

Back to Archived blog posts.

Is this a joke?

A columnist for the New York Times opens his article with the following:

IT was a year of apocalyptic events. Hurricanes and floods and earthquakes humbled us. Holy wars raged at home and abroad. Deep Throat was unmasked, but the hero of Watergate, Bob Woodward, re-emerged in a strange new guise, covering up White House secrets. Avian flu lurked. Brad dumped Jen, the girl next door, and took up with the enchantress Angelina.

Which one of these events does not match? You got it: the latest celebrity affair/divorce drama. Did William Falk include this with natural disasters, holy wars, and a potential global flu pandemic as a poke in the eye of our celebrity-obsessed culture or has he been swallowed by it? The opening paragraph appears to be a joke, and I hope it is.

I also found it entertaining that scientists have confirmed the "old wives tale" about how getting a chill can make you sick after years of scoffing at it.

Unfortunately, the "nation's newspaper of record" has not been checking facts well. Following is a letter to the editor I wrote to the Times regarding an untruth in Falk's editorial.

To the Editor:

In his December 30 column, William Falk writes of a plan to distribute a vaccine for the human papillomavirus: "(T)he Family Research Council and other social conservative groups vowed to fight that plan, even though it could virtually eliminate cervical cancer."

This is false. In fact, the FRC web site has a press release that states: "The Family Research Council welcomes the news that vaccines are in development for preventing infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease... We believe that adults must be provided with sufficient information to make an informed, free choice whether to vaccinate either themselves or their children for HPV."

This was from an October 18 press release, sent to the media and posted on the Internet two months before Falk's column ran. I find it unfortunate that Falk would publish such information without gathering all of the facts. I hope Falk did not deliberately misrepresent FRC's position, as your reputation is already tarnished by Jayson Blair's fabrications of news stories.

The New York Times should have higher standards than the National Enquirer. Publishing stories that fit Leftist stereotypes but are 180 degrees out of phase with the facts does not bode well for your newspaper. I urge the Times to print a retraction, and Falk should publicly apologize to the FRC. If the misrepresentation was intentional, Falk should be dismissed from the Times.

Scott Tibbs