Big correction appended to Dowd's latest column
Maureen Dowd might want to start looking for a quieter coffee shop: The New York Times issued a big print correction Thursday after her Wednesday piece misquoted the wife of NYC mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, a fumble that the columnist blamed on a botched interview recording.
Dowd had written that Chirlane McCray said of husband de Blasio's rival Christie Quinn:
She's not the kind of person I feel I can go up to and talk to about issues like taking care of children at a young age and paid sick leave.
McCray's actual quote was:
Well, I'm a woman, and she's not speaking to the issues that I care about, and I think a lot of women feel the same way. I don't see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, issues in the workplace — she's not speaking to any of those issues. What can I say? And she's not accessible, she's not the kind of person that I feel that I can go up and talk to and have a conversation with about those things, and I suspect that other women feel the same thing that I'm feeling.
Dowd's error was problematic because it made her interviewee seem homophobic; implying that Quinn — who is gay — could not identify with her and "other women" who have young children.
Before the correction was issued, Quinn's put out this response to the column:
I have spoken fondly of Ms. McCray and Mr. de Blasio's family. It's unfortunate that they cannot do the same about mine – no matter how different it might be from theirs. But for anyone who is interested, I have a large, loving family of Catullos and Quinns, with 10 nieces and nephews who I absolutely adore, like [they're] my own.
Dowd blamed the mistake on having to rely on her written notes because the noise in the coffee shop where the interview took place rendered her recording useless. She said she would purchase a noise-cancelling microphone for her recorder to use in future interviews.
NYT did not say how it was able to obtain the correct transcript of McCray's comments if Dowd's recording was unintelligble and her notes were unreliable.
Incidentally, Dowd's claim that the interview took place in a coffee shop was the subject of a second correction. It was not "Good Times" coffee shop, but "Good Stuff Diner."
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