The newspaper might start with the following draft: “The New York Times issued an apology last week. That apology was about a story on the young people who tragically lost their lives in the Berkeley balcony disaster. The apology was inadequate and offensive and this paper now revisits the issue to right a journalistic wrong.
“The story made inevitable the inference that these young people contributed to their own deaths. They did not…
“Our unequalled tradition of investigative .journalism should have led us immediately to investigate the failure of the physical structure that caused the deaths and the track record of the company that had constructed it. Instead, we gave disproportionate space to complaints from neighbouring residents about the noise from the 21st birthday party (irrelevant to the tragedy, we accept) and used pejorative terms like ‘revelry’, which, in aggregate, conveyed the conclusion that the young party-goers either caused, or deserved, what happened to them. Neither is true.
“Because the bulk of our story gave a false impression of guilt on the part of the innocent dead and injured, The New York Times is breaking with tradition today. Normally, when material is presented to this paper that disproves a point made in a published story, The New York Times appends the correction to the story on its website, while also correcting the original text, thus allowing the essence of the original story to be available to visitors to our site.
However, the thrust, purpose and direction of the original story was to justify a pre-existing racist thesis — that Ireland’s J1 visitors to the United States are dangerous, drunken revellers and vandals, and that the scheme, which allows them to spend time in our country, is an embarrassment to Ireland. It is also clear that our writers, in support of the thesis, linked unrelated minor historic data to a current major tragedy and in a manner that is unacceptable to the New York Times.
Accordingly, and in this exceptional case, we have removed the original story from our website and request other media outlets, which may have posted it on their websites, to do likewise.
“Ireland’s former president, Mary McAleese, is just one of the many voices condemning our original story. We accept that hundreds of thousands of Ireland’s brightest and best students have come to this country on J1 visas. We accept that they have contributed to America and gained from the experience. We are deeply sorry to have tarred them with a brush dipped in the bad impressions left by a tiny minority of their peers.
“We are also sorry for an initial apology, which was at best self-serving, and which undoubtedly compounded our original offense and deepened the damage done by the first report. We will immediately review our systems for examination of reader complaints.
“The New York Times, in 1897, adopted the motto we still employ on our front page: ‘All the news that’s fit to print.’ Our report after the balcony deaths was not fit to print. It may have added to the grief of bereaved parents. It certainly offended the majority of our many Irish readers. We sincerely regret it.”
The story made inevitable the inference that these young people contributed to their own deaths.
Well, apparently, we are the new white niggers! I read that in The Guardian.