Patterico's Pontifications

9/19/2010

My Letter to the L.A. Times Readers’ Representative Regarding Errors in Carol Williams’ Article on Judicial Confirmations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:15 pm



Ed Whelan says the paper is refusing to correct their error:

Eight days ago, I explained in detail that the assertion by a Los Angeles Times reporter in an August 30 article that President George W. Bush had 87% of his early judicial nominees “confirmed during the first 18 months of [his] administration” was wildly wrong. I also showed that, contrary to the reporter’s charge of a massive 40-point gap, there was no meaningful difference between the pace at which President Obama’s lower-court nominees were being confirmed and the pace at which President Bush’s early nominees had been confirmed. The following morning—that is, seven days ago—I e-mailed my post to the reporter, Carol J. Williams, and highlighted the fact that the very expert (Russell Wheeler of the Brookings Institution) whom she had quoted on other points had documented that Obama nominees were being confirmed at the same pace that Bush nominees had been.

Yet eight days later Williams’s article remains uncorrected—and her wild error continues to be quoted and credited.

Now it’s of course possible that Williams didn’t read my e-mail (though I’ll note that she has previously consulted me). But it doesn’t seem possible that the editors of the Times are unaware of her error: As Patterico pointed out two weeks ago, the Times’s own follow-on editorial substituted a 60% figure for Williams’s 87%.

In my earlier post, I encouraged readers to write the paper to complain. Well, none of you took me up on it, so the onus is on me. I just sent this to the Readers’ Representative:

Hi. I am writing to question the factual accuracy of a recent article by Carol J. Williams, relating to the speed of confirmation of President Obama’s judicial appointees.

In that article, Williams said:

Obama’s judicial confirmation rate is the lowest since analysts began detailed tracking the subject 30 years ago, with 47% of his 85 nominations winning Senate approval so far. That compares with 87% confirmed during the first 18 months of the previous administration, 84% for President Clinton, 79% for President George H.W. Bush and 93% for President Reagan.

Oddly enough, that 87% figure for George W. Bush was changed in a later editorial to 60%:

According to the White House, at this point in his presidency Obama has had 48% of his nominees confirmed, compared with 60% for George W. Bush and 68% for Bill Clinton.

Ed Whelan, a former clerk for Antonin Scalia and a blogger at National Review, wrote a post which said:

The article’s assertion that President George W. Bush had 87% of his early judicial nominees “confirmed during the first 18 months of [his] administration” struck me as farfetched. And it turns out that it is wildly wrong. Specifically (by my quick count, which may not be perfect but should be very close), President Bush nominated some 112 judges during his first 18 months (32 to the courts of appeals and 80 to the district courts), and 64 of these (13* to the courts of appeals and 51 to the district courts) were confirmed during the first 18 months of his administration. That yields an overall figure of 57%, not 87% (and the figure for the courts of appeals was just under 41%).

He sent a link to his post to Williams, but no correction has issued.

Could you please look into this and get back to me?

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey
patterico.com

I’ll let you know what I hear back.

6 Responses to “My Letter to the L.A. Times Readers’ Representative Regarding Errors in Carol Williams’ Article on Judicial Confirmations”

  1. Leftist MFM’ers never let actual facts get in the way of Teh Narrative.

    JD (8ded14)

  2. It is touching that this sign of your noble belief in the possible goodness of even the lowliest scum causes you to persist in treating the LA Times as though they had a vestige of honest, dignity or truth remaining.

    They don’t. Haven’t for years, if not decades.

    Presenting a logical, fact-supported argument to this failing and pathetic vestige of what a newspaper used to be is as wasted as presenting said argument to a fetid, rotting mammoth carcass… And the resemblance between the two is remarkable.

    The LA Times idiots lie, their stories, research, writers and conclusions are so much crap, and the deathwatch continues.

    Let them go.

    For your sake.

    Anon 1:50 (ab0a05)

  3. If I were editor of the Times, I’d fire her sorry ass.

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  4. Dear Kevin:

    That is one of the many reasons you are not the Editor. Now go subscribe to our paper.

    Love,
    The Times

    LA Times Editorial Board (fb8750)

  5. Pat, you are hearing the sound of the LASlimes’ reply, crickets chirping.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  6. Patrick we dont need you to let us know if you hear anything…we already know what you will hear: the sound of 1,000 crickets.

    Mike D (cfd823)


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