Should Have Known Better Than To Trust The NY Times: China 'Protest' Hangups Story Is Bunk

from the they-want-me-to-pay-for-this? dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about a report in the NY Times of people in China having their phone calls cut off mid-call when someone says the word "protest." In our comments, many people questioned whether or not this was true, and with good reason. It now turns out that the story appears to be complete bunk. A bunch of folks in China have been testing this and can find no evidence to support it. In fact, one of the reporters who worked on that article commented on that link to say that he, too, tested it and could not confirm it. Yet... the NY Times published it anyway.

Yes, we should have known better than to trust a NY Times trend piece that opens with a cute and perfect anecdote. I apologize.

In fact, we've called the NY Times out for this same thing in the past. They love to start stories with "perfect" anecdotes that do not appear to have much basis in reality. But they want us to sign up for their paywall to pay for this kind of "reporting"?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    But . . . but . . . journalism!

    If we don't all pay up now, we might have to get our news from sources not as thorough at fact-checking as the NYT!

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:38pm

      Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

      Seriously. Way to add value, guys.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

        "Seriously. Way to add value, guys."

        There's value in fiction....

         

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          ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

          What did you say? I seem to have used up my 20 DH clicks.

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

            Ooooh, a Dark Helmet paywall would be awesome. You wouldn't have to pay with money, just the pain of being forced to watch S&M anime between different species of animals....

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

              Which species and must they be different?

               

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                Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

                It's a regular rotation. Anything and everything that went on Noah's Ark....

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

                  Are we including non factual animals? It seems wrong to use anime and only be able to use animals we can prove existed.

                   

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                    David Liu (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

                    I'm pretty sure S&M anime with animals would require the use of some tentacle monsters...

                    At least I hope so; I cringe at the thought of rabbits and bears doing S&M in the woods when we're not looking...

                     

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                    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

                    In the spirit of the New York Times, we can totally just make up bullshit Chinese animals....

                     

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                      The eejit (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 2:33pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

                      OR we could have the Kirin of the economy get S&M'ed by that mythical creature, the ethical banker. Afrter all, we all have our kinks...

                       

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              Greg G (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

              Don't post it on Craigslist or in Arizona....

               

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        Joe (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re: But . . . but . . . journalism!

        I'm thinking that maybe they are adding value - if you pay them, you get the stories that are actually true!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Mike you have totally missed the point of the pay wall. It is to keep crap in and our poor eyes from having to read said crap. So really the pay wall is an awesome idea. One less thing people can point to that isn't really fact.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    A two-fer!

    Now we can be lied to and feel guilty about it at the same time! =]

     

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    Steven (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

    I'm quite sure the NYT will preserve their stellar reputation by printing a front page retraction and apology.

    (must... keep... straight... face...)

     

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    DS, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    Yes, but did they feel guilt about it afterwards?

     

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    Joe Publius (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    Bad Journalism is killing Journalism!

    Just imaging the bumper sticker revenues.

     

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    Fickelbra (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Not surprised

    I was confused when you guys did a follow up on the story to begin with... It just wreaked of third-party word of mouth nonsense. Seems a pretty damn easy thing to confirm or deny, and since no one could confirm it... Not blaming you either though; one would hope they could remotely trust an article from NYT. But we all know the name of the game these days, it's not about who has the most thorough story, just who announced it first.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Maybe NY Times has their fact checking department spending their resources on checking whether you, in fact, did pay for the paywall or if you are a cheapskate teenager or an unemployed bum or something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    What is really funny here Mike is that you were more than willing to run with it, becoming their partner in the story by parroting it like truth.

    As I said in the original thread, "it could be an example of people trying to hate monger on China with little to back it up". Mike, you aren't a stupid person (perhaps a little ignorant at times, but that is okay). Why would you run with a story in the first place? Could you not see it as the third hand tale that it really was? Plenty of people in the comments saw it.

    Why so fast to jump on the bandwagon? Perhaps it's something you support?

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    I still prefer the other news outlets...

    where I can get my poorly researched anecdotal evidence for free.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Fox news just repeated this at ~5:45 central time so it must be true!

     

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    vastrightwing, Mar 25th, 2011 @ 4:03pm

    Remember these?

    LOL, and the New York Times thinks a pay wall will help? LOL when they have other problems like: Jayson Blair, Maureen Dowd, Walter Duranty, Hassan Fattah, Jack Hitt, the "Plastic Turkey" story, etc. I'd say their "fact" checking is a little on the poor side, to put it mildly. I don't bother reading the New York Times since I never know where they're coming from. They often leave out facts that lie just as much as the facts they make up. Consider this part of your plan to fix the times. Try putting integrity back into reporting... then... maybe they will come.

     

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    mrtraver (profile), Mar 25th, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    value added here!

    Maybe they add value by giving the factual story only to the ones who pay and go through the gate instead of going through the gaping holes in the paywall.

     

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    bugmenot (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 7:27am

    New York Times Terrorists

    Actually, this is just a simple case of truth terrorism. The army of news journalists have been trained in liberal institutions without any sense of ethics or morality. Journalists are now at the same level as Osama bin Laden.

     

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    Gregg L. DesElms (profile), Mar 26th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    The NY Times is obviously reading this web site

    Today, the NY Times has added the following beneath the
    China story:


    Editors' Note: March 26, 2011

    An article on Tuesday about Chinese censorship of digital communications began with a description of two interrupted cellphone calls, which were cited as possible examples of “a host of evidence over the past several weeks” that the authorities were increasing their efforts out of concern that antigovernment sentiment might spread from Arab countries. In one call, a Beijing entrepreneur lost his cellphone connection after he used the English word “protest” twice. In the second, a call was lost after the speaker twice used the Chinese term for protest.

    The article did not point out that in both cases, the recipients of the calls were in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times. Because scrutiny of press communications could easily be higher than for those of the public at large, the calls could not be assumed to represent a broader trend; therefore, those examples should not have been given such prominence in the article.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Actually they do have something like that.

    I suspect it depends a bit where you call from in china. They don't monitor all the lines. Also, you have to trigger the mechanism in some way. Once we managed to accidentally trigger it on the word google. After it was triggered we ware not bale to say the word without being cut of. It was funny watching my wife explain to the person on the other line what not to say without being cut of. It tock tree calls :)

     

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    okwhen (profile), Mar 27th, 2011 @ 6:10am

    Hopefully we are learning from past mistakes

    Their is no such thing as new networks today. They have replicated Vietnam's radio personality Hanoi Hannah a.k.a. Dragon Lady and are producing nothing more than propagandist crap. People seen to take sides, for instance against Fox news, however, they all seem to be mirror images to me. Let's face it, without independent news free from government and corporate control, then we will only see and hear more of the same. Therefor, quoting the news without independent sources is only propagating the propaganda and becoming part of the Hanoi Hannah machine.

    I just sent Mr. Lam with Gizmodo my dislike with on of his editors Jesus Diaz for publishing an article called “chernobyl-kids-video-is-one-part-unnerving-two-parts-sad-and-three-parts-awesome” and making completely inaccurate statements.

     

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    Benjamin (profile), Mar 28th, 2011 @ 5:40am

    Well done.

    This is the difference.

    I questioned the story, and I got flamed for it - and that's the difference. Some people are willing to swallow the line wholesale, and without question. Those folks, and bloggers with lower standards never would have revisited this story. They would have buried it when they discovered the problem. Kudos to Mike for making sure the truth is fairly represented, regardless of the "cost."

    ...And in this case, at least by my measure, the "cost" is greater respect from yours truly - and I already had a great deal of it.

     

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