Sunday Times: Pay Up To Have Us Tell You How We Were Totally Wrong In Our Climate Change Story

from the that's-worth-paying-for? dept

Now that Rupert Murdoch has put up his paywalls around The Times of London and the Sunday Times, it's creating some interesting moral and journalistic dilemmas. Earlier this year, apparently the Sunday Times ran a highly publicized report claiming that climate change scientists had made predictions about rainforest threats from climate change that were based on bogus information. Unfortunately, it turns out that that the bogus part was actually in the coverage by The Times, and not the researchers. Months later, The Times has issued a massive retraction. While the Sunday Times has simply disappeared the original article from the web (article? what article?), the retraction is behind the paywall. This is leading some to question the journalistic ethics here. If you put out a huge, publicly-accessible, fear-mongering report that accuses researchers of relying on junk science... and it turns out to be totally wrong, doesn't there seem to be something wrong about then putting the retraction behind a paywall? I recognize that the Sunday Times' strategy is for all of its content to be paywalled, but there are times when you make an exception. This seems like an important one.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    umm, was the original story out before the paywall? perhaps they dont realize at this point that there is a difference?

    sort of reads like "gotchya" again, trying to slam the model not by addressing the model, but by focusing on a small, relatively minor issue. it is the type of thing that would come up in any changeover of this nature.

     

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  2.  
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    Chris Brand, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    makes sense

    If they don't want you to read their articles, they certainly don't want you to read their retractions...

     

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  3.  
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    Modplan (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    Try harder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    This is not a relatively minor issue.

    A relatively minor issue would be for Sunday Times to leave retractions for public articles concerning boring errata behind a paywall.

    A major CLUSTERFRAK issue is when Sunday Times publishes a wholly fabricated and intentionally deceitful , publicall available article, and then hide the retraction behind a paywall.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    "(article? what article?)"

    and this is one of the problems with copy protection laws. If someone sends me a newspaper I can keep it and use it as future evidence against future denials. But if I'm not allowed to copy a webpage and someone later takes down the web page they can deny ever having said anything.

     

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  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    Socialize accusations, privatize retractions?

     

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  7.  
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    Danny, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    This is just a technological upgrade to putting the breaking headline on the frontpage, finding out its bogus, then putting the retraction on page 19A a month later after the initial heat has cooled off.

     

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  8.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    Reading is fundamental....

    "This is leading some to question..."

    - and -

    "I recognize that the Sunday Times' strategy is for all of its content to be paywalled, but there are times when you make an exception. This seems like an important one."

     

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  9.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    "umm, was the original story out before the paywall? perhaps they dont realize at this point that there is a difference?"

    You're suggesting that the editorial board/staff isn't aware that their own website is behind a paywall? Odd....

    "sort of reads like "gotchya" again, trying to slam the model not by addressing the model, but by focusing on a small, relatively minor issue."

    Uh, no, it's an ethics question, as stated in the story. Public lies vs. paywalled retraction. How are you not getting this?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    "by focusing on a small, relatively minor issue."

    So then you admit that the model has problems. and who are you to judge the significance of this issue? There seems to be many many significant issues with this model, not just this one and you would rather that no one discuss any issues and pretend that there is nothing wrong with the model. If it's such a minor issue then why are you so worried about us discussing it? It's apparently significant enough for you to comment on.

    and Mike never said that this issue is the only reason why paywalls are a bad model or that this issue even makes a significant negative contribution to the problems with paywall. He is merely pointing out that this is an issue, for you to take that as saying that he is focusing on this issue by merely mentioning it and implying that the entire model has been debunked based on this issue is not what Mike is doing at all.

    "trying to slam the model not by addressing the model"

    How is discussing problems with the model not addressing the model? What, should we criticize the model by finding positive things about it?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re:

    "How is discussing problems with the model not addressing the model? What, should we criticize the model by finding positive things about it?" - it is just a snarky sort of post poking at a minor issue (similar to making a mistake on a link, that was last weeks big deal). it isnt even a question of the model itself, only minor technical issues that need to be addressed. so at the end of the day, it isnt a discussion of the model, but of technical issues related to operating the website.

    but hey, as a plus, you didnt call me a racist yet.

     

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  12.  
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    interval (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    So...

    ...there's lies, damn lies, and pay walls.

     

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  13.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How could you be a racist when you're clearly an amorphous pod person?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're still a moron.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    RD, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re:

    "sort of reads like "gotchya" again, trying to slam the model not by addressing the model, but by focusing on a small, relatively minor issue."

    Uh, no, it's an ethics question, as stated in the story. Public lies vs. paywalled retraction. How are you not getting this?"

    Because Mike can do no right, and TAM must stretch and twist any statement to try to "get" Mike and the site. After all, TAM is right, and everyone else is wrong, at least in TAMWorld(tm).

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    RD, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "it isnt even a question of the model itself, only minor technical issues that need to be addressed. so at the end of the day, it isnt a discussion of the model, but of technical issues related to operating the website. "

    Yes, of course TAM would leap to be the apologist for Big Media and brush this off as nothing more than "a simple glitch", while completely and utterly missing the underlying principle and ethics of such a "glitch." This wasnt accidental TAM, this wasnt an example of "Well, they just didnt notice." They knew EXACTLY what they were doing when the put the big attention-grabbing FALSE headline and story on the public page, and the retraction and admission of FRAUD only behind the paywall.

    And you arent a racist, you are a Techist. A bigot against technology. And you are a bigot against the public good, also known as a "Publicist."

     

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  17.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And a POD PERSON, damn it! A POD PERSON! Eyes must be opened, or they will overrun us all with their amorphous forms and quadruple opposable penises!

     

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  18.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    to perfect your analogy:

    "This is just a technological upgrade to putting the breaking headline on the frontpage, finding out its bogus, then putting [an address to send money for] the retraction on page 19/A a month later after the initial heat has cooled off."

    TFTFY

     

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  19.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    Re:

    "but by focusing on a small, relatively minor issue. "

    Global warming is happening

    -vs-

    Global warming is hype

    yeah relatively minor issue ...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    and your rant is just a snarky sort of post poking at ... nothing. but at least you admit that it's something that needs to be addressed. and so we are merely addressing it. What's wrong with that? We are discussing the operation of the website and the technical issues with it. Why do you have a problem with this?

     

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  21.  
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    TheOldFart (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Turn the scenario around and listen to the howls

    What if their article had been pro-science instead of anti-science and then determined to be in error and then the retraction had been buried behind the paywall?

    You'd need earplugs to dampen the screams of outrage from the anti-science crowd.

    The reason you don't hear many screams now is that the pro-science folks are getting pretty used to taking it up the butt on the corporate media stage. Most of Murdoch's outlets (and I mean that in the sewer sense of the word) are in denial mode when it comes to climate science. Seems like they're just taking advantage of the rules they establish for "ethics".

    The Wall Street Journal is so anti-science when it comes to climate they'd probably ignore the whole thing and not print any sort of retraction anyway. I know they also either carried the article or quoted from it. Anyone know what they did about the retraction?

     

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  22.  
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    vastrightwing, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Irrelevant

    I just tried to go to the SundayTimes.uk or whatever. I don't even want to register, much less pay to read what they have to say. They can bury all the retractions they want. After all, if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear, it makes no sound. Likewise, the SundayTime won't have to write any retractions anyway, since no one will read the original wrong story.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re:

    I appreciate the edit but I was trying to push the idea that in the newspapers only seem to do retractions to prevent lawsuits for libel, deformation, or whatever its called, not because they want to apologize to the offended/harmed parties. In other words the legal bare minimum.

    Before newspapers fulfilled that obligation by burying the retraction in a future issue (after the masses of their readership have hopefully forgotten the initial heat). Well now with the news online they can fulfill that obligation and bury it behind a paywall. That way if someone did try to claim they didn't retract it the they just point to the paywall, throw their hands up, and say, "There's the retraction. Its not our fault if people don't want to pay for the access to read it."

     

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  24.  
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    TheOldFart (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    If you could sue for...

    ..."deformation" I know a lotta folks that could retire by the end of the month.

    (I know, I know, special level of hell reserved etc. etc. etc. At least I left out the thalidomide jokes)

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    toaster fork, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re:

    to be fair (re: the newspaper analogy) one also has to pay for the analog versions of the paper. Sometimes $1 or more, depending on the day.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    debatable, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Irrelevant

    "if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear, it makes no sound."

    One could debate whether the tree fell

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    What do others think?, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 9:04pm

    Techdirt article edits

    This seems like as good a place as any to put something that has been bugging me about Techdirt for a while.

    When Mike (or others) make an edit to articles there is no trace of what the original content was. Not saying that Techdirt is doing anything underhanded but I would like to see the original content with a strikethrough and the edited content following. Given Techdirts position on a number of topics and its userbase, I think this change could only enhance its credibility.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 11:23pm

    Re: Techdirt article edits

    When Mike (or others) make an edit to articles there is no trace of what the original content was. Not saying that Techdirt is doing anything underhanded but I would like to see the original content with a strikethrough and the edited content following. Given Techdirts position on a number of topics and its userbase, I think this change could only enhance its credibility.

    Huh? That's exactly what we do. The only time we don't do that is in cases where we fix typos.

    If we edit actual content, we always do a strikethrough. Here's are some examples:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100615/1521059835.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/art icles/20100405/1818058887.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100308/0123168455.shtml

    So, not sure what your complaint is? We've *always* done things this way.

     

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  29.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 24th, 2010 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not necessarily. Somebody has to pay for it to begin with, but many people can read the copy after it's been bought.

     

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  30.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 24th, 2010 @ 4:52am

    Re: Techdirt article edits

    Do you have any examples? I've certainly never noticed this, but I have noticed many articles with strikethroughs and extra paragraphs added at the end, clearly marked as additions after the original article.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Techdirt article edits

    My mistake... didn't realise you made the distinction between typos and other content edits... To me it is all content that has changed and therefore should be identified as changed. Thanks for clarifying this with me. Please note, it was not a complaint, more an observation/suggestion.

     

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  32.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 24th, 2010 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    OK, all amporphus pod people to the back of the bus.

    NOW! ;-)

     

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  33.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 24th, 2010 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Irrelevant

    But if the tree in the forest fell on TAM would either make a sound?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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