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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 27, 2005 09:08 AM

Never take the words they print at face value. Ever.

You’ve probably already been doing that for a long time. But now you have the Times’ own editors affirming that even they don’t take their writers’ words as factual assertions–but instead read them as “figurative references.” Check out the Editor’s Note today explaning away a slanderous libelous error made by reporter Alessandra Stanley that the paper had refused to correct–even when confronted with irrefutable video evidence that her claim was flat-out false:

The TV Watch column on Sept. 5 discussed broadcast journalists’ undisguised outrage at the failings of Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. It said reporters had helped stranded victims because no police officers or rescue workers were around, and added, “Fox’s Geraldo Rivera did his rivals one better: yesterday, he nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety.”

The editors understood the “nudge” comment as the television critic’s figurative reference to Mr. Rivera’s flamboyant intervention. Mr. Rivera complained, but after reviewing a tape of his broadcast, The Times declined to publish a correction.

Numerous readers, however – now including Byron Calame, the newspaper’s public editor, who also scrutinized the tape – read the comment as a factual assertion. The Times acknowledges that no nudge was visible on the broadcast.

But there’s no apology to Geraldo and the snobs at the Times refuse to classify the note as a straight correction.

“Correction,” you see, is a figurative term, too.

Wink, wink. “Nudge”, “nudge.”

Hat tip: John Hinderaker at Power Line, who notes, “The same Stanley column also contained a recitation of the false claims made by Aaron Broussard on Meet the Press. No correction of those fabrications yet. Heck, we’ll settle for another ‘Editor’s Note.'”

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