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New York Times Quickly Changes Obama Terror Response Story Without Correction (Updated)

Paper quickly changes story reporting Obama acknowledged needing to watch more cable TV to appreciate Americans’ anxieties on terrorism

Updated, 10:50 a.m. PT, Dec. 18

The New York Times issued the following statement to TheWrap.

“Thanks for the question. There’s nothing unusual here. That paragraph, near the bottom of the story, was trimmed for space in the print paper by a copy editor in New York late last night. But it was in our story on the web all day and read by many thousands of readers. Web stories without length constraints are routinely edited for print.”


The New York Times came under fire for the second time in less than 24 hours for quickly editing an error in a story about President Obama’s terror response without issuing a correction.

In its story headlined, “Under Fire From G.O.P., Obama Defends Response to Terror Attacks,” the paper painted a picture of a clueless president failing to grasp Americans’ anxieties over terrorism.

“In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments,” the Times originally wrote.

Journalists on social media immediately seized on this, calling it “breathtaking” for the President to require more cable news to understand the situation.

But the Times quickly changed the section in question, replacing it with an unrelated passage about President Obama’s long held belief that ISIS doesn’t pose an existential threat to the U.S.

Mr. Obama argued that while there were potentially threats that would merit the kind of investment of lives and money equivalent to that made in the Iraq war, the Islamic State does not pose an existential threat to the United States and therefore the response should be measured. The United States needs to take on the group, in part to defend allies in the region, he said, but it should not be an all-out war.

Moreover, he added, part of the group’s strategy is to draw the United States into a broader military entanglement in the region. A sustained but limited campaign may be slow and politically unsatisfying, but ultimately will be more successful, he contended.”

The New York Times didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment regarding the change without any formal correction.