Civics And Media Accuracy

Erik Wemple:

As a matter of timing, it was odd: Last week, the New York Times attached a lumpy correction to a story about the political dynamics of President Trump’s various proclamations on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The story highlighted the president’s various “asterisks, wisecracks, caveats or obfuscation” about Russian cyberattacks, and made a reference to the consensus among “17 intelligence agencies” about Russian interference.

Here’s the text:

Correction: June 29, 2017

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

News organizations had been repeating that “17 intelligence agencies” line for months and months, with no corrections in sight. Why was the New York Times issuing a correction all of a sudden? And why did the Associated Press add a clarification one day later? Who asked for it? The New York Times declined to comment beyond the correction. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment on the record.