A Bad Day for the New York Daily News

A headline word is added and a staff editor is removed.

Under the pointed headline “It Takes Exactly Four Tweets From Non-Eyewitnesses to Tar a City as Racist,” Reason magazine editor in chief Matt Welch tallies the bases touched by New York Daily News digital content producer Katherine Feldman on her way to an item about the Monday return to St. Louis of Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward. In inside-baseball journalism parlance, the original version of the article was a single turned by multiple errors into a painful four-bagger. From Welch’s blog post:

So to sum up: Based on exactly four tweets from people who were not (as far as we can tell) at the [St. Louis] ballpark, and who were mostly or all Cubs fans, the Daily News stated, originally as indisputable fact, that multiple fans at a Cardinals game yelled “Nigger!” at a black man in a highly public setting. With no audio corroboration, no iPhone footage, no eyewitness testimony, and despite the fact that that widely reviled slur is an ejectable offense at Cardinals games.

As Welch notes, Deadspin did not discern anything beyond boos when it watched the ESPN broadcast footage of Heyward’s game introduction. And indeed, in the NYDN item, it is currently written that ESPN “have yet to pick up on any tangible specifics from the ESPN game audio.”

Meanwhile, in a separate Twitter storm, the paper’s senior social justice writer Shaun King was quickly tarred and feathered as a plagiarist before it was revealed that for unknown reasons, his editor at the Daily News removed not only proper attribution marks and mentions relating to The Daily Beast, but also from earlier King articles, involving other cited sources. That editor has been fired, with CNNMoney’s Dylan Byers choosing in his dispatch to name the individual:

“These mistakes are unacceptable and the editor in question has been fired,” [editor in chief Jim] Rich said… Rich also said that “because of the recurring nature of this editor’s specific mistakes,” the Daily News was “currently reviewing all of the columns he edited.”

In the Heyward NYDN item, there is also this odd passage juxtaposition: ‘crowd mics picked up multiple Cardinals fans allegedly yelling the N-word at the new Chicago Cubs right fielder, who played last season for the Redbirds.’ As far as we know, mics either pick up something or they don’t.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Daily News Columnist Shaun King Highlights His Editorial Independence