For the supposed newspaper of record, The New York Times screws up an awful lot. From statements that are outright wrong to embarrassing typos, the old gray lady sometimes appears to have grown senile. To keep her on her toes, Ira Stoll—a self-described “ordinary semi-intelligent guy in Brooklyn”—started Smarter Times (www.smartertimes.com) last June. Each day Stoll gets up bright and early to read the NYT the way an English professor might comb a student’s report. And if a student made this many errors, the Dean’s List would be out of the question. In a recent edition, we learned that the Times has referred to Europe as a country. At other times, Stoll has pointed out what he sees as the Times‘ usually lefty biases regarding guns, the environment, and Israel. The obit of American Communist Party leader Gus Hall, for example, glowed very brightly, Stoll writes, despite the fact that Hall “was a Soviet Communist agent who took orders directly from Moscow.” Not all the criticism comes from a rightist perspective; Stoll has repeatedly chided the paper for describing the physical appearance of female public figures.
Occasionally, Stoll himself makes a grating mistake and runs a correction of his own. Despite its flaws Smarter Times makes an important errata for all the news that’s fit to misprint.