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New York Times ‘I was wrong’ initiative contains glaring omission

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Yudi Sherman

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Yudi Sherman

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Shining a spotlight on media and government disinformation.

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Sun, Jul 24, 2022

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00:56 AM

NYT columnists refuse to admit error on specific topic

New York Times ‘I was wrong’ initiative contains glaring omission

The New York Times rolled out a new initiative Thursday in which eight opinion columnists admitted they had erred in op-eds they had previously written. 

“Eight Times Opinion columnists revisit their incorrect predictions and bad advice — and reflect on why they changed their minds,” the Times explained on its website. “In our age of hyperpartisanship and polarization, when social media echo chambers incentivize digging in and doubling down, it’s not easy to admit you got something wrong.” 

“But here at Times Opinion,” the paper boasted, “we still hold on to the idea that good-faith intellectual debate is possible, that we should all be able to rethink our positions on issues, from the most serious to the most trivial. It’s not necessarily easy for Times Opinion columnists to engage in public self-reproach, but we hope that in doing so, they can be models of how valuable it can be to admit when you get things wrong.” 

The columns covered a range of topics: 

  • “I was wrong about inflation” by Paul Krugman. 
  • “I was wrong about Al Franken” by Michelle Goldberg. 
  • “I was wrong about capitalism” by David Brooks. 
  • “I was wrong about the power of protest” by Zeynep Tufekci. 
  • “I was wrong about Trump voters” by Bret Stephens. 
  • “I was wrong about Chinese censorship” by Thomas Friedman. 
  • “I was wrong about Facebook” by Farhad Manjoo. 
  • “I was wrong about Mitt Romney” by Gail Collins. 

However, one topic that conspicuously did not make the list was COVID-19 – and specifically, lockdowns. 

While masks and vaccines still remain part of the public debate on COVID-19, lockdowns have been conclusively found to be disastrous, without any benefit to society. 

The pandemic's lockdowns caused an increase in poverty and domestic violence, less education, and higher unemployment, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University. In the end, the lockdowns had little to no effect on COVID-19 deaths.  

The lockdowns also caused a 60% increase in the number of psychiatric patients in Israel, according to another study.  

During lockdowns, the number of obese patients increased 8%, the number of smoking patients went up 7%, the number of patients suffering from high blood pressure increased 6%, and the number of patients with cardiovascular diseases jumped 14%.  

Because of lockdowns, experts are warning of a “psychiatric pandemic” among children and adolescents. 

These findings raise questions about what data were used by “experts” such as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha when they advocated for lockdowns. None produced any data when confronted by Americas Frontline News.  

Neither did New York Times reporters and columnists produce any concrete data supporting their vociferous defense of lockdowns and animus towards lockdown opponents.  

“The Anti-Lockdown Protesters Have a Twisted Conception of Liberty,” wrote Jamelle Bouie in May 2020, arguing that those who oppose lockdowns are racist. 

“The Quiet Hand of Conservative Groups in the Anti-Lockdown Protests,” wrote Kenneth P. Vogel, Jim Rutenberg and Lisa Lerer in April 2020. 

Even James Glanz and Campbell Robertson, who claimed to have data (“Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, Data Show”) only produced modeling to support their claim that the U.S. didn’t lock down fast enough. 

But neither Bouie, Vogel, Rutenberg, Lerer, Glanz, nor Robertson penned an “I was wrong” op-ed recanting their support for lockdowns, which wrought severe and lasting damage on whole populations. 

More importantly, to the New York Times, is that someone named Michelle Goldberg was wrong about Al Franken. 

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