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pilight



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 3:41 pm    ::: The NYT Edited an Article With the Biden Campaign In Mind Reply Reply with quote

https://theslot.jezebel.com/the-new-york-times-apparently-edited-an-article-with-th-1842860940

Quote:
I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Why did you do that?

Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 4:59 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Quote:
Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in an interview, “the [Biden] campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward.”


Hey. That's good enough for me.



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 7:48 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

So what's the issue here? It sounds like the article was edited for clarity. Which happens all the time. I constantly get notes from my editor (or beta readers) highlighting passages they feel are awkwardly written. Most of the time they are right and I rework it immediately, and the rest of the time they are right and I rewrite it after stubbornly fighting them on it for a while.

But in this case it seems like the sentence as written left a different feeling with the reader than the author intended. Which seems to be an accurate assessment, or else there probably wouldn't be a Jezebel article being written about how they "changed it". That it was the campaign that pointed it out is really irrelevant. If it was awkward, it was awkward and needed to be fixed.



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 8:01 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

What??!! MSM influenced by Presidential Campaign?!

The horror. Very Happy



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 8:30 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
So what's the issue here? It sounds like the article was edited for clarity. Which happens all the time. I constantly get notes from my editor (or beta readers) highlighting passages they feel are awkwardly written. Most of the time they are right and I rework it immediately, and the rest of the time they are right and I rewrite it after stubbornly fighting them on it for a while.

But in this case it seems like the sentence as written left a different feeling with the reader than the author intended. Which seems to be an accurate assessment, or else there probably wouldn't be a Jezebel article being written about how they "changed it". That it was the campaign that pointed it out is really irrelevant. If it was awkward, it was awkward and needed to be fixed.


There were two authors, not one, but that is an easy mistake to make since the authors were not mentioned in the Jezebel article. What led you to say that the sentence said something different than what the authors had intended?


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PostPosted: 04/14/20 8:43 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

tfan wrote:
justintyme wrote:
So what's the issue here? It sounds like the article was edited for clarity. Which happens all the time. I constantly get notes from my editor (or beta readers) highlighting passages they feel are awkwardly written. Most of the time they are right and I rework it immediately, and the rest of the time they are right and I rewrite it after stubbornly fighting them on it for a while.

But in this case it seems like the sentence as written left a different feeling with the reader than the author intended. Which seems to be an accurate assessment, or else there probably wouldn't be a Jezebel article being written about how they "changed it". That it was the campaign that pointed it out is really irrelevant. If it was awkward, it was awkward and needed to be fixed.


There were two authors, not one, but that is an easy mistake to make since the authors were not mentioned in the Jezebel article. What led you to say that the sentence said something different than what the authors had intended?


The article says specifically that the way the original sentence was phrased suggested an alternate meaning, "And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say."

Thus they changed the sentence structure to convey the meaning the authors intended.



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tfan



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 9:14 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
tfan wrote:
justintyme wrote:
So what's the issue here? It sounds like the article was edited for clarity. Which happens all the time. I constantly get notes from my editor (or beta readers) highlighting passages they feel are awkwardly written. Most of the time they are right and I rework it immediately, and the rest of the time they are right and I rewrite it after stubbornly fighting them on it for a while.

But in this case it seems like the sentence as written left a different feeling with the reader than the author intended. Which seems to be an accurate assessment, or else there probably wouldn't be a Jezebel article being written about how they "changed it". That it was the campaign that pointed it out is really irrelevant. If it was awkward, it was awkward and needed to be fixed.


There were two authors, not one, but that is an easy mistake to make since the authors were not mentioned in the Jezebel article. What led you to say that the sentence said something different than what the authors had intended?


The article says specifically that the way the original sentence was phrased suggested an alternate meaning, "And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say."

Thus they changed the sentence structure to convey the meaning the authors intended.


We need the whole quote from the editor (who gave a very odd possible denial of cow towing to the Biden campaign by saying that he didn’t want to let his head or his heart go there):

Quote:
Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.


The authors thought it was OK. The editors thought it was OK. Then the Biden campaign objects and only after that the editor agrees with the alleged campaign conclusion that it gives the impression that Biden has other similar sexual harassment claims even though it doesn’t say they are similar, or the editor wants to eliminate that campaign charge/complaint. He has big motivation to lie about whether he changed it solely due to the campaign bringing it up because he starts out by saying how bad that action would be. So we can’t really be sure of his actual motivation.

The editor seems to suggest that it was his call to change it, although he confusingly uses both I and we in the same paragraph.

Quote:
We didn’t think it was a factual mistake. I thought it was an awkward phrasing issue that could be read different ways and that it wasn’t something factual we were correcting. So I didn’t think that was necessary.


I am guessing that the intention of the authors were not to imply other sexual harassment at the trying-to-get-in-pants level as the editor and the campaign would likely characterize it, just mention other sexual harassment of but-not-trying-to-get-in-pants level. And I also don’t think the sentence implied the former and that the campaign just wasn’t happy about them pointing out the latter. Although they could be said to be objecting on the basis that talking about him doing the more benign harassment means that he is more likely to be guilty of the other that he is accused of by the former aide. Judges will disallow testimony about other crimes on the basis that they will influence belief about the current crime having been committed.




Last edited by tfan on 04/14/20 11:22 pm; edited 6 times in total
jammerbirdi



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 9:42 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
That it was the campaign that pointed it out is really irrelevant.





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pilight



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 9:45 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

If it was changed at the request of the Trump campaign, I suspect the board reaction would be very different



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PostPosted: 04/14/20 11:56 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I don't think you all realize just how frequently things like this happen in the editing process.

There is a huge difference between moderating what you were going to say on the behest of a campaign, or bowing to pressure from them and pulling your punches, and listening to feedback from whomever (a campaign included--even if it were the Trump campaign) asking if I intended an awkwardly phrased passage to sound a certain way and if I didn't, if I would consider rewriting it to make my point clearer.

In one, the campaign is determining author's message for them, in the other the campaign is making sure the author's message is clear.

And it is very, very common where my editor and I both read a passage a certain way, but then a few of the beta readers all come back with feedback that says they are reading it completely differently. When that happen I have to decide whether I like the idea of it having multiple readings and being a little ambiguous, or whether it's foundational for something else and so I need to rewrite the passage to make sure it flows in the direction I need it to.

So just because the authors and the editor didn't see the awkwardness before it was pointed out to them from a third party (in this case the campaign) doesn't mean the phrasing wasn't awkward and it wasn't leaving readers with a wrong impression.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 2:06 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:

There is a huge difference between moderating what you were going to say on the behest of a campaign, or bowing to pressure from them and pulling your punches, and listening to feedback from whomever (a campaign included--even if it were the Trump campaign) asking if I intended an awkwardly phrased passage to sound a certain way and if I didn't, if I would consider rewriting it to make my point clearer.


I just have to say right here that I'm flummoxed.

Sentence as originally written:

"The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."

Sentence after input from the Biden campaign:

“The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.”

justintyme wrote:
In one, the campaign is determining author's message for them, in the other the campaign is making sure the author's message is clear.


Well, you know the New York Times needs help from political campaigns in order to write clear sentences. Shocked

I would suggest, that in THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE, the campaign was determined to change the message conveyed in the original sentence, which included all this business about HUGS and KISSES and TOUCHING and UNCOMFORTABLE WOMEN, to the second sentence that, without a hint of any such inconvenient details, simply exonerates Biden entirely.

And before you admonish that they aren't exonerating him, I would remind you that this is the newspaper of record. Therefore, I must conclude that scary is on this like sticky on a melted fudgesicle.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 9:07 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Jammer, you are highlighting my point exactly. When you read that, you are sensing the awkwardness of the phrasing and are taking it to mean something.

But the authors are saying that meaning was never their intent. So when the awkwardness of that passage was pointed out and they realized the dissonance between their intended message and the impression it was giving readers, they edited it for clarity.

There is a fair argument whether or not the NYT is glossing over what "sexual misconduct" is, but it is clear from the article as a whole that the article's position was that there was no evidence of his involvement in sexual misconduct. Full stop. But the way that one passage in it the original piece was phrased, they suddenly introduced issues they weren't really discussing except for that one line, and then seemed to imply that those were examples of sexual misconduct--just not on the same level as the one they were actually discussing. But the authors and the editors don't actually believe that. They don't believe those rise to the level of "sexual misconduct", so when it became clear that was the impression the awkward phrasing was leaving people with, they changed it.

So no, while the campaign did have an impact on what was printed the way any beta reader might who catches something, they did not change what the author intended. They helped to make sure the author's point was clear to the reader.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 9:09 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

This is propaganda and is the basic raison d' etre of MSM, imo.

There are 2 root problems in this country, imo- bribed (by business) politicians and a complicit MSM.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 11:39 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Quote:
When you read that, you are sensing the awkwardness of the phrasing and are taking it to mean something


awkward:
1) causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with.
2) causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.

Are you saying it caused discomfort for you and other readers, or that it caused discomfort for Joe Biden and his campaign workers? It didn't cause me any discomfort. There is video and pictures that show him way too close and too touchy with women so it isn't an unfounded claim



Quote:
But the authors are saying that meaning was never their intent.


What meaning did the unquoted authors have as their intent? I think that it is inaccurate to say he hasn't been accused of sexual misconduct unless that term is given a clear definition. The editor could have modified the article to say that Biden hasn't been accused of sexual misconduct of the type that the aide is claiming. The Biden campaign would have been unable to complain about that given their reason for wanting it changed.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/in_wwDhg3h8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>




Last edited by tfan on 04/15/20 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: 04/15/20 12:24 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

tfan wrote:
Quote:
When you read that, you are sensing the awkwardness of the phrasing and are taking it to mean something


awkward:
1) causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with.
2) causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.

Are you saying it caused discomfort for you and other readers, or that it caused discomfort for Joe Biden and his campaign workers? It didn't cause me any discomfort. There is video and pictures to back up the claims.


....

Seriously.

Did you seriously just equivocate while listing both definitions? I mean, at least I can give you credit for that, since most people just try and surreptitiously change the definition used from the one the original writer was using to the one that is most convenient for them.

The definition of awkward being used here is the first, "difficult to deal with". The way it was phrased gave the reader the impression the author was suggesting that Biden's hugging and such were examples of past sexual misconduct. But since the author doesn't feel that those are examples of sexual misconduct, that makes this passage's phrasing a problem since it becomes difficult for the reader to parse as they becomes confused about the author's position. Thus the phrasing is "awkward".

tfan wrote:
Quote:
But the authors are saying that meaning was never their intent.


What meaning was not their intent? The deleted part does not, as the campaign claimed, suggest that Biden was accused of sexual harassment by the other women.

As I said, we can discuss all day long whether or not the NYT has a messed up understanding of what should constitute "sexual misconduct" and whether the Creepy Biden meme should rise to that level. But the position of the editors and authors of this piece--without any input from the campaign--is that is doesn't.

So any phrasing within the piece that would give the impression that Biden does have a history of sexual misconduct would be unintentional, and it is this that was pointed out to them by the campaign. So they edited their wording to better represent their position on the issue and eliminate any ambiguity.

But having an issue with their definition of sexual misconduct is not the same thing as a paper censoring itself on the behest of a campaign, which is what the Jezebel article was suggesting they were doing.

Put another way: I think they make this same edit if other people who were not affiliated with the Biden Campaign pointed out that passage to them and asked if that is what they meant to imply with it. That it was the Biden campaign is incidental.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 12:48 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
But the position of the editors and authors of this piece--without any input from the campaign--is that is doesn't.


Well, no. Without input from the campaign they published it as it was originally. It was only changed when the campaign objected.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 1:48 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
justintyme wrote:
But the position of the editors and authors of this piece--without any input from the campaign--is that is doesn't.


Well, no. Without input from the campaign they published it as it was originally. It was only changed when the campaign objected.

The input didn't change their intent at all. All it changed was their view on how their words were being read. As I have said numerous times, this is extremely common when others read your work. You know what you are trying to say so your brain parses it in a certain way. And if your editor has worked with you long enough, sometimes they are locked in the same thought process as you. Which is why you use beta readers to get additional eyes and feedback on your work. So often you will think you are saying one thing and all the feedback says "oh, we thought it meant_____".

When you then go back and change it, it isn't because the beta readers are making you change what you were trying to say, it's that you know you were communicating ineffectively and need to rework the passage to get your theme/point/plot/meaning across better.

So to be clear here, the authors and editors position from the very beginning, even in the article as published at first, is that Biden does not have a history of sexual misconduct.

But the way the original article was written, as Jammer and others here (along with the Biden campaign) have pointed out, gives the reader the strong impression that the authors feel that there is a history of sexual misconduct. But because that line seems to stand counter to the premises and conclusion of the rest of the article it creates a sense of cognitive dissonance. The problem was the original authors and editor didn't recognize this when it first went to press. They were locked into reading their words only as they intended them to be read. They did not see the ambiguity and the dissonance it was causing.

So when this was pointed out to them, they did what tjey are supposed to do and clarified. Presented with the new interpretation of their words, they cut the part that caused the ambiguity and now the reader clearly knows what their position is.

And that position may be a total shit position, but that's an entirely different issue.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 2:01 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

"The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."

There is nothing unclear or awkward about this sentence. It makes two simple assertions in short clauses connected by the preposition "beyond". The meaning and intent of the authors and editor are most conclusively demonstrated by the sentence as originally written, edited, approved and published -- not by ex post facto cop-outs.

It's blindingly obvious what's at work here: a political correction, not a grammatical correction.

Fact 1: Biden has a history of women saying that his hugs, kisses and touches made them uncomfortable.

Fact 2: Not everyone is aware of this history.

Obvious Inference 1: For political reasons the Biden campaign doesn't want this factual history further publicized.

Obvious Inference 2: The Washington Post is sympathetic to these political reasons.

Tweaking a sentence is the least the politicized Washington Post can do, and will do, to prop up Biden.
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PostPosted: 04/15/20 2:25 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Not sure what the Washington Post has to do with this Confused



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 2:32 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Not sure what the Washington Post has to do with this Confused


Otherwise though, he’s spot on. Razz



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 2:33 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Not sure what the Washington Post has to do with this Confused


Thanks. I need an editor. Or less senility. As my last defense, I'll just say that the New York Times, Washington Post and Democrat Party are indistinguishable and fungible for purposes of my argument.
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PostPosted: 04/15/20 2:49 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Okay, fine...

English professor time!

The issue here is the juxtaposition of the two clauses. Both are statements of fact.

1) The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct involving Biden.

2) There have been hugs, kisses, and touching that some women have said have made them feel uncomfortable.

Both of these as stand alone clauses are clear, and unambiguous. But when we put them together they become messy. The relation that the preposition "beyond" is establishing is in regards to sexual misconduct. That means everything that comes in the clause after it is going to necessarily be thought of in those terms, unless you have already locked into your mind to not.

And that is clearly not what the authors had wanted to establish. If you read the entire article, then entire premise is that there was no previous sexual misconduct. They very obviously considered the "Creepy Biden" stuff to be something "lesser than". And that's where the ambiguity comes in. "Beyond" has a very large realm of meaning. If we ignore the context of the entire piece and just look at that one passage, we know that there are types of sexual misconduct that the authors believe exist beyond Creepy Biden, but what isn't clear is if the authors meant for Creepy Biden itself to be a form of sexual misconduct. And that is the clarity the campaign sought, and which the editor and the authors provided.

And their statements about what they intended with that passage seem to be consistent with the theme of the entire piece. In fact, it would be odd for them to draw the conclusions they did if they had intended it the other way.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 6:47 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing I've seen more grammatical parsing here than I can ever recall. All quite spot on! Very Happy

Does anyone here ever think the NYT, et.al., are NOT biased, or beyond influence? Please!

Where to begin....howz'bout we just stick with the content of the initial (pilight instigated) thought/discussion?

Quote:
Fact 1: Biden has a history of women saying that his hugs, kisses and touches made them uncomfortable.
Who doesn't know this? And, I posit that "hugs, kisses and touches" may make for *uncomfortable*, but does it really constitute sexual assault? [Blowjobs in the Oval office by an underling, Weinsteinesque behaviors, Trump grabbing pussies, et.al.]

Fact 2: Not everyone is aware of this history. Find ONE person under 95 that isn't Razz

Obvious Inference 1: For political reasons the Biden campaign doesn't want this factual history further publicized. Brilliant deduction Very Happy

Obvious Inference 2: The Washington Post is sympathetic to these political reasons. Yepper. Biases show in all media. It's all about degree, imo. example: Fox News broadcasts. Breitbart. It's WHAT WE NOW COUNT ON, good or evil.


"Catch and Kill". Playboy hush money. David Pecker. Stormy Daniels. All recent *things* we're subjected to, and are considered excusable by many. Getting one's knickers in a twist over Biden's 'thing' is like Nero complaining after the fire that he found soot on his dais.



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PostPosted: 04/15/20 8:13 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

By the way, I have little doubt that bias plays a role in how the author sees the issue. It is fair to ask whether or not these authors or editors would feel the same way about "Creepy Biden" if it were Trump being accused of the exact same behavior.

My issue is more that the critique here is not really asking the right questions. The fact that they edited it was normal and expected and there is no reason to not take them at their word as to their intent. The deeper issue was why was that their intent? Why do they not weight "Creepy Biden" as a form of sexual misconduct that is demonstrating a pattern of behavior?

It's not that they had to censor themselves at the behest of the campaign as is being suggested, it's that they had a really messed up view/premise to begin with that became somewhat glaringly obvious to everyone when the facts of the situation seemed to create dissonance with their stated conclusion.



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PostPosted: 04/16/20 5:02 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

justintyme wrote:
By the way, I have little doubt that bias plays a role in how the author sees the issue. It is fair to ask whether or not these authors or editors would feel the same way about "Creepy Biden" if it were Trump being accused of the exact same behavior.

My issue is more that the critique here is not really asking the right questions. The fact that they edited it was normal and expected and there is no reason to not take them at their word as to their intent. The deeper issue was why was that their intent? Why do they not weight "Creepy Biden" as a form of sexual misconduct that is demonstrating a pattern of behavior?

It's not that they had to censor themselves at the behest of the campaign as is being suggested, it's that they had a really messed up view/premise to begin with that became somewhat glaringly obvious to everyone when the facts of the situation seemed to create dissonance with their stated conclusion.


The NYT has been in Trump's pocket for years now. As has most of the media. Ratings.

Creepy Biden is an issue that makes voting for him feel a little icky.

Sexual assault Biden (if credible) is an issue that would make voting for him impossible if serial sexual assault Donald wasn't the other option.

That's the difference.

Pretending that Biden's habit of being touchy feely with woman isn't an issue is a problem. Pretending that their isn't a difference between Biden's creepy touchy feely-ness and molestation is also problematic. People (mostly men) need to stop doing both, but one is considerably worse than the other.



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