We've written about this problem for years here and, indeed, have spent no small part of those years repeatedly spanking papers like the New York Times for being amongst the worst repeated offenders.
Fairness is one thing. Balance, on the other hand --- particularly in cases of known, independently-verifiable, well-established facts on one side of an issue but not on the other --- is largely bullshit meant to do little more than level an unlevel playing field for bad guys. That's why Fox "News" loves the motto "Fair and Balanced", because it gives them an excuse to forward bullshit disguised as "balance", as if it was only fair to counter an established, well-supported (if not Right-leaning) view point. Never mind if that established view point has mountains of evidence and independently verifiable facts to support it. If those facts don't agree with ideological Republican dogma, they must be "biased" and "unbalanced".
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias," Stephen Colbert once famously quipped.
The New York Times has a long history of falling for, and forwarding in "the paper of record", false balance produced by those on the Right. Often, as was the case when The BRAD BLOG outed the James O'Keefe ACORN "Pimp" Hoax for being a complete fraud in 2010, the paper has sided simply with the word of Rightwingers, actual evidence-before-their-eyes be damned. Longtime readers will likely remember Greg Brock, the Times' Senior Editor for Standards(!), telling us that falsely reporting O'Keefe wore a "pimp costume" into ACORN offices (he never, ever did) was perfectly appropriate, because, as Brock explained to us in email at the time, "Our article included that description because Mr. O'Keefe himself explained how he was dressed --- and appeared on a live Fox show wearing what HE said was the same exact costume he wore to ACORN's offices."
"If there is a correction to be made," Brock incredibly added, "it seems it would start with Mr. O'Keefe himself. We believe him. Therefore there is nothing for us to correct."
After we took our complaint, and the independently verifiable facts to support them, to Clark Hoyt, the New York Times Public Editor at the time, he embarrassingly backed up Brock, despite the actual hard evidence that existed --- such as an independent investigative report from a former prosecutor and the videos themselves --- to the contrary. His remarkable defense of that egregious and damaging misreporting, repeated over a series of articles, earned Hoyt an infamous depiction as an actual "weasel" by cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. Eventually --- some six months later --- Hoyt admitted that both he and the paper were wrong, but not before the false reporting led to irreversible damage to ACORN, which had been long-vilified by the Right for little more than the crime of legally registering millions of largely low- and middle-income voters to participate in their own democracy.
So it's refreshing, finally, to see that the Times' current Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, is not only not falling for the same old crap, she's actually attempting to hold the paper accountable for inappropriately advancing false balance on Rightwing stalking horse issues like pretend GOP claims about voter fraud and global warming denialism. And she's doing so repeatedly...
--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---