New York Times Scrubs Op-Ed Of References To Conservative Website

Alex Griswold Media Reporter
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A Monday night op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Why Our Memory Fails Us” addressed the topic of why people misremember events in their lives, prominently using the example of astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s misquotation of President George W. Bush. But curiously missing from the op-ed was any credit given to the conservative website that first broke the story.

The Federalist’s Sean Davis broke the story that Tyson had fabricated a Bush quotation back in September. Indeed, virtually all of the  Tyson fabrications have been uncovered by Davis and The Federalist. But in the five paragraphs summarizing the controversy, the revelations are credited to unnamed “critics,” with no link or credit given to Davis’ original piece. (RELATED: Conservative Website ‘The Federalist’ Targeted For Wikipedia Deletion After Criticizing Neil deGrasse Tyson)

The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech hit back in a piece of his own. “There was only one critic and one publication conducting original research about Tyson’s fabulism: The Federalist,” he wrote. “Somehow, the New York Times op-ed page forgot to include that fact.”

But one of the authors of the op-ed, Professor Christopher Chabris, said on his blog that his submission did include explicit references and links to The Federalist… but the New York Times edited them out for the final publication.

Chabris chalked  the omission up to space concerns. “The final version of the op-ed that we submitted to the New York Times was over 1900 words long; after editing, the published version is about 1700 words,” he wrote. “Several pieces of information, including the names of Davis and The Federalist—who did a service by bringing the matter to light—were casualties of the condensation process.”

Davis took to Twitter to express his frustration about the intentional omission, calling out New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan in particular. (RELATED: Twitter Fight Of The Day: BuzzFeed Vs. The Federalist)


In an emailed statement, Davis told The DC that he wasn’t buying the excuse that references and links to The Federalist were omitted for space reasons. “I don’t really buy the ‘limited space’ argument, because links don’t take up any space. That’s why links are great! Even if NYT didn’t want to specifically name The Federalist, it could’ve easily provided links to the original research published by The Federalist.”

Davis declined to speculate about the motives behind the snub: “Unfortunately, I can’t think of any really good reasons why you would go out of your way to not credit the only source of original reporting on the topic.”

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