Incorrect Corrections Policy
Saturday, July 31, 2004; Page A21
A July 13 correction read:
"A July 10 story on a new Senate report on intelligence failures said that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV told his contacts at the CIA that Iraq had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from the African nation of Niger in 1998. In fact, it was Iran that was interested in making that purchase, but no contract was signed, according to the report."
The offending paragraph in your July 10 paper said:
"According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998."
Consider the possibilities raised by this correction:
1. Wilson did in fact tell his CIA contacts that Iraq had tried to buy the uranium but the committee uncovered the truth that it was Iran, not Iraq.
2. Wilson told his CIA contacts that it was Iran that wanted the uranium, but the committee erred and reported that it was Iraq, and that no contract had been signed.
3. The former Niger mining minister told Wilson that Iraq wanted to buy the uranium, but he was in error, deliberately or otherwise; this error was subsequently uncovered by (a) Wilson or (b) the committee, and Iran was shown to have been the potential customer.
4. Everybody had it right except your reporters, who wrote the story. They wrote "Iraq" instead of "Iran."
5. Everybody, including your writers, had it right, but the people on the copy desk screwed up.
Your paper's corrections are maddening. Sometimes the most trivial errors are corrected but significant errors of fact are ignored. Sometimes blame for the error is fixed (especially if it was not your paper's fault) but most often it is not. Sometimes your paper publishes the corrected information but is cryptic almost to the point of secrecy in not providing more details about what was printed originally.
Your corrections policy needs correcting.
-- Gordon Nelson
А чего удивляться? Перевернув страницу, читаю подпись под фотографией погибшего в Ираке контрактора: "Он был убит взрывом придорожной бомбы севернее Багдада и умер на пути в госпиталь."