The New York Times is eternally clueless

A.K Gupta Jan 20, 2009

History is of little use to the New York Times because reporting with a historical perspective would mean having to discuss the history of Israel’s decades-long goal of exterminating the Palestinian people as a nation or the history of U.S. interventions around the world that leave little doubt that America is a global empire based on the conquest of other people’s lands for political, economic and military gains.

So it was with great amusement to find that on the day of the inauguration of America’s first black president, the Time is incapable of correctly describing one of the most dramatic and well-known events of the tumultuous ’60s.

In describing the local reaction to Obama’s inauguration, Times reporter David Stout visited a barbershop in the neighborhood of Anacostia. In the barbershop, Stout noted there was a “poster that read ‘Obama, hope and change’ was pinned to the wall alongside a picture of athletes making the Black Panther salute at the 1968 Olympics.”

What the hell is the “Black Panther salute”? What the Times means, of course, is the “Black Power salute.” There is a world of difference between a political party, the Panthers, and a symbolic expression, the raised, clenched fist. But such is the sorry of state of reporting at the paper of record that it can’t get the term right for one of the most iconic images of the 1960s.

Sooner or later some editor will probably correct it, but it would be amusing to see how long it takes for them to catch on. (The report went up at 2:37pm according to the Times, so the error has already been there for nearly an hour.)

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