The New York Times Means Never Having to Officially Say You’re Sorry

The ‘she said/they said’ between the NYT and Vicki Iseman continues! Politico’s Michael Calderone spoke to Iseman today who says Dean Baquet’s statement that the Times did not apologize is absolutely untrue.

“They are absolutely not telling the truth when they say there is no apology,” Iseman said, later adding, “They are striking first blood against me.”

Iseman is unable to divulge further details due to a confidentiality agreement that was part of the settlement, which she has since asked to be released from. Meanwhile Baquet says: “I knew some people would see [the settlement] as the paper retreating from the story, I wanted to make that clear to my staff that it wasn’t.”

There also seems to be some debate over the historical importance of the “Note to Readers.”

Iseman also takes issue with Baquet’s claim that the Times has not retracted its story. She said that she was told by the Times that the “Note to Readers” is the paper’s “highest level of retraction,” akin to the Times‘ notable mea culpa on pre-war reporting from May 2004, titled “From the Editors; The Times and Iraq.”

A Times spokesman said it’s not so. “The Times declined to publish a retraction in no uncertain terms,” the spokesman said.

Times Standards Editor Craig Whitney says the paper has never used the “Note to Readers” construction before, so it can’t be described as the “highest level” in a historical context, as Iseman claims she was told. In the past, the Times has used an “Editor’s Note” to acknowledge “lapses of fairness, balance or perspective.”

Stay tuned, as they say.

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