Chuck HagelOkay, I’ve finally lost my cool about all the ridiculous errors in the NY Times. When I was in elementary school, we used the Times as a resource. It was the go-to place to study correct usage, grammar, spelling, style. Now it is filled with crap. Complicated sentence structures, run-on sentences, misspellings, awkward phrasing. I don’t get it. A) Don’t they have copy editors? and B) Don’t they have proofreaders? I’m happy to point out the daily errors, and they can pay me if they want me to sit and read the paper every night before it goes to press so I can find the usual 5-6 errors on the front page alone!

Today, for example, we have a caption under the lead photo saying, “Iraq policy critics have included, from left, Senators Chuck Hagel, Richard G. Lugar and Joseph R. Biden Jr.” Why does it say “have included?” That implies that they were one-time critics, but don’t necessarily continue as such. High-school journalism 101: the article that bumps the picture does not include a word about these 3 Senators. Eventually Hagel and Biden are briefly mentioned, but no word on Lugar. Is it possible he has changed his stance? Let’s find out… nope, he remains skeptical of the Bush plan. According to the January 25 edition of the Times, “the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday denouncing the plan to send more troops to Baghdad… But even Republicans who opposed the resolution, including Senator RICHARD G. LUGAR of Indiana, expressed deep doubt about whether the troop increase could succeed and suggested it was time for a new direction.”

So what’s my point? Instead of “Iraq policy critics have included, from left, Senators… bla bla bla, why not simply “Iraq policy critics include?” Clearly, these men all remain critical of Bush’s policy, even though Lugar has to hedge a bit since he is a Bush loyalist! Don’t get me started!

Same thing in the article below that about Judith Miller, the recently jailed NY Times reporter. The lead says, “Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times, testified Tuesday as a witness for the prosecutor who had put her in jail for 85 days…” What is wrong with “the prosecutor who put her in jail?” What’s with the Latinate construction? Has anyone read E.B. White? Why are these reporters such klutzy writers?

And here’s a good one further down the page, a blurb teasing an article inside: “Dean Baquet, the editor of The Los Angeles Times who was fired in November for refusing to cut jobs, is returning to The New York Times as chief of its Washington bureau and an assistant managing editor.” Let’s be honest. If the man was once fired from the LA Times, he should be returning to the LA Times. Doesn’t that make common sense? That’s it! There’s nothing to debate about. That’s just poor writing. How about helping the reader by saying, is returning to his previous employer, The New York Times. There! Problem solved! Or just, “has been hired at the NY Times, a former employer.” See, there’s the irony captured beautifully. He worked at paper A, then went to paper B, and is now returning to paper A. Great story. That is not, however, what the blurb says.

C’mon, New York Times, let’s try to get it right. How about a basic training program for your reporters?