By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2008, 1:29pm PT  

Not really. But it's a damned funny headline. And it's probably accurate "enough" for the New York Times, where accuracy doesn't much matter anymore, apparently.

We'll have some of our own thoughts very soon on Recount, which we much enjoyed over the holiday weekend. Until then, our preview of the new HBO film, filed before we finally got to see it when in premiered Sunday night, is posted here.

But it's worth noting, for the moment, that the New York Times, the disgraced "Paper of Record," even today persists in misreporting the story of the 2000 Florida Election debacle. As Larry Beinhart documents today at Smirking Chimp:

"In 2001 painstaking postmortems of the Florida count, one by The New York Times and another by a consortium of newspapers, concluded that Mr. Bush would have come out slightly ahead, even if all the votes counted throughout the state had been retallied."
-- Alessandra Stanley, New York Times, May 23, 2008 in a review of the HBO television movie, Recount

That's not true.

The New York Times did not do its own recount. It did participate in a consortium. Here's what they actually said:

"If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin."
-- Ford Fessenden And John M. Broder, New York Times, November 12, 2001

Why did Ms. Stanley make such an important and fundamental error?

It is not a trivial matter. It is a common piece of misinformation. Many, many people believe it. Now a few more do, as a result of Ms. Stanley's review.

It is not a trivial matter. Because that misinformation was created by one of the most bizarre, and still completely unexplained, journalistic events in modern times.

Here's what happened.

Read Beinhart's piece for the remarkable details in what really is one of the "most bizarre, and still completely unexplained, journalist events in modern times." Unfortunately, he doesn't include links in his coverage (please add them if you can, Larry!), but for the doubters, here's the report [PDF] showing that Al Gore did, in fact, receive more votes in Florida in 2000 than George W. Bush. That, despite the stunningly contrary headlines, as Beinhart shows, from almost every paper that reported on that complete state count. Even the papers who bothered to report --- if you read them closely enough --- that Gore received more votes than Bush, still used inexplicably misleading headlines for the story.

Given the wholly inaccurate claim, as includied in their review of Recount, it would appear that NYTimes is intent on simply ensuring the matter is inaccurately reported forever. We'll remember to keep that, and their year-long front page pre-Iraq War-mongering, in mind next time we're inevitably told by some wingnut on the radio, just how "liberal" the NYTimes is.

Also, it's with no small amount of sadness that we note the passing of legendary producer/director/actor Sydney Pollack who died on Monday at the age of 73.

Pollack had been slated to direct Recount originally, but was forced to bow out due to being diagnosed with cancer last August. He lived, at least, long enough to see Recount premiered on Sunday night on HBO. He had stayed on with the production as Executive Producer.

Given his great sense of humor, we'd like to believe he would well have appreciated the satirical headline above.

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