Friday, January 09, 2015

Who is jumping to conclusions here?

Jim Treacher is outraged that the New York Times deleted a quote from Sigolène Vinson, a witness to the Charlie Hebdo attack, in which she said the attackers told her to read the Quran and convert to Islam:
So, imagine yourself as an NYT editor for a moment, if you can withstand the nausea. Why would you specifically take out the part about the Islamic terrorist proselytizing for Islam in the middle of the terrorist attack? Why delete this woman’s account of being threatened at gunpoint and being told to convert to Islam?

That’s easy. Because you’re one of America’s moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, and you don’t want it to be true. Your reporter hastily left that inconvenient truth in her story by accident, so you airbrushed it out, without any acknowledgment, to preserve the narrative. You turned it into, “Hey, maybe these guys aren’t so bad after all. They didn’t kill the women, right? Let’s not be too hasty.”
 But if you follow the link in Treacher's piece, the one that says "Here’s what it [the New York Times article] says now" it goes to this article that includes the following:

She [Vinson] disputed a quotation attributed to her and carried on the website of the French radio service RFI stating that the gunman had told her she should convert to Islam, read the Quran and cover herself. Instead, she told The New York Times in an interview, the gunman told her: “Don’t be afraid, calm down, I won’t kill you.” He spoke in a steady voice, she said, with a calm look in his eyes, saying: “ ‘You are a woman. But think about what you’re doing. It’s not right.’ ” Then she said he turned to his partner, who was still shooting, and shouted: “We don’t shoot women! We don’t shoot women! We don’t shoot women!”
There is Treacher's answer. That's why the earlier version of the article included the quote and the later one didn't. In the interim the Times contacted the witness themselves and she told them the quote was not accurate. That's not "airbrushing it out" an "inconvenient truth" that's revising a story to improve its accuracy.

(via Memeorandum)