NY Times Tags Kim Davis As a Republican, Blames 'Editing Error'

September 6th, 2015 9:00 PM

At the New York Times, a Thursday report by Alan Blinder and Tamar Lewin, with assistance credited to two others, originally identified Rowan County clerk Kim Davis, the center of national attention who has been jailed over her refusal to issue marriage licenses containing her name to homosexual couples, as a Republican. (The press has been mighty quiet about acknowledging that Ms. Davis would be okay with licenses being issued as long as they do not contain her name.)

Obviously, the "editors" must have thought, she has to be a Republican to be such a stubborn dinosaur. Problem is, she's a Democrat and was elected as a Democrat, facts that that have been widely known — including (not kidding) by the Times itself on September 1, in a writeup which Blinder co-authored, and in Rowan County election records available online since last November. The Times has added the following "correction" at the conclusion of the pair's report:

Correction: September 3, 2015
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated Kim Davis’s political affiliation. She is a Democrat, not a Republican.

Sorry, folks. That's not an "editing error." It's a complete failure to get a relevant fact right followed by a complete failure to fact-check — even against your own paper's output.

The Times did catch its error in time to prevent it from appearing in its front-page print edition coverage on Friday. The suspicion here is that the paper's editors were thrilled to identify her as a Republican in the story's fifth paragraph before the front-page jump, but subsequently quite disappointed that the correction caused them to disclose her (horrors!) Democratic Party membership in that same place once the error was discovered.

Here's more on the error and the Times story in general from Terry Mattingly at Get Religion:

Kim Davis is in WHAT political party? A classic New York Times correction

... Once again, it would help if readers were informed that Kentucky law currently says – according to the fine details buried in news reports – that the county clerk's name has to be on a marriage license in order for it to be official. From the perspective of Kim Davis, that fact requires her to actively endorse same-sex unions, even if someone else hands out the licenses.

Thus, she balked. No one needs to agree with her stance in order to accurately report the link between the details of the Kentucky law and her act of conscience. The bottom line: Details of Kentucky laws are still important in Kentucky.

Will the governor, a Democrat, hear the calls of Democrats and Republicans for a special session to change the state's laws to protect the rights of gay couples seeking marriage as well as traditional believers in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.? That's the story.

... (Was the correction) Because of an editing error? Was this an error or an assumption?

Raise your hand if you think it's likely that the copy desk of the world's most powerful newspaper contained more than a few people who simply assumed that Davis is – that she just has to be – a Republican?

NPR identified Davis as a Democrat on Wednesday, September 2. The Associated Press did the same on the evening of Tuesday, September 1.

Beyond that, Davis's party affiliation would have been known to anyone bothering to visit the Rowan County Clerk's web site, where the result of the County Clerk's race have been posted since November 4, 2014:


Kim Davis's party affiliation was too obvious for the "editors" at the New York Times to have to check — even against their own previous work.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.