In his December 12, 2012 Mother Jones blog post ("Mark Bittman's Smart Take on Kids and Pesticides"), Tom Philpott quotes the following line from a commentary piece by New York Times columnist, Mark Bittman:
“I was impressed by a statement by the American Association of Pediatrics—not exactly a radical organization—warning parents of the dangers of pesticide and recommending that they try to reduce contact with them.”
While the quote is exactly as it first appeared in the Times, it contained a couple of errors, namely the name of the organization mentioned (it’s the American Academy of Pediatrics, not merely an “Association”) as well as a grammatical mishap. The Times has since corrected both errors as noted in a previous MediaBugs report (http://mediabugs.org/bugs/more-than-an-association).
The name mistake is easy enough to make and the only reason I caught it was because I actually clicked the convenient hypertext link that leads to the source website cited. The organization name plastered across the top of that website was the first thing to catch my eye and it didn’t reflect the name as written in the quote from the Times article. Just in case Bittman and Philpott were right and the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) had in fact changed its name but simply forgot to change it on the website, I double checked by emailing the organization. Someone from the AAP got back to me the next day to thank me for alerting them about the media reporting error and assured me that the organization’s website was indeed correct about its own name. Since the blunder all began with the Times, I notified them first. The Times corrected it right away and I have since notified Mother Jones about the correction in hopes that it will set the record striaght in its article as well.
While it’s just a simple oversight of a minor detail, it makes me wonder if the claim about another small oversight (with bigger implications) in the same Mother Jones article as noted by a different reader in a previous MediaBugs report is worth taking a second look at. I think it might be and I hope Mother Jones does too.
Related MediaBugs reports: Factually wrong use of DDE pesticide data comparing organic vs conventional kale (http://mediabugs.org/bugs/factually-wrong-use-of-dde-pesticide-data-comparing-organic-vs-conventional-kale)
More Than an Association (http://mediabugs.org/bugs/more-than-an-association)