Hot take lessons
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“Avoid the hot take.” That was the primary lesson WORLD pointed out in our April 10 issue concerning coverage of a news story with racial overtones.
Here’s the lead on a New York Times story published at 11:18 p.m. on Aug. 8: “A man in the stands at a Colorado Rockies home game on Sunday repeatedly and loudly yelled a racial slur at Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, who is Black.” Statement of fact. No attribution.
The rest of the story was a series of indignant comments. But 12 hours later the Times slapped on an updated lead: “The Colorado Rockies are investigating whether a man in the stands at Coors Field in Denver on Sunday repeatedly and loudly yelled a racial slur at Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson, who is Black.”
The rest of the article, though, was similar to the first: indignant comments. Then five hours later, in a new story, the Times posted its third lead: “After investigating reports that a fan had yelled a racial slur during a game at Coors Field in Denver on Sunday, the Colorado Rockies determined the fan was actually yelling for the team mascot, Dinger.”
Turns out that a grandpa behind home plate was asking the mascot a few rows away to pose for a photo with his grandkids.
Each time, the Times did not acknowledge that its earlier reporting was inaccurate. The newspaper in its third take offered a defense of its reporting: “Although this event seems to have been a misunderstanding, there have been incidents in which players have reported racial abuse in stadiums.”
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