New York Times changes sectarian headline

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That’s today’s headline (above), changed as a direct result of this post I wrote about yesterday’s sectarian headline (below):

Ben Hubbard, the reporter who wrote the piece, contacted me after reading my post and had this to say about the change:

“Thanks for pointing this out. Headlines are written in New York and sometimes the final edit of an article that comes to the writer does not have the headlines on it yet. In this case, while Nasrallah did vow Hezbollah’s commitment to the fight in Syria, he did not target Sunnis in general and even told listeners not to blame all Sunnis for the actions of extremists.”

I appreciate Ben’s efforts, and I knew this was a decision made in New York, which is exactly why I put a picture of the 42nd street building in yesterday’s postHowever, I do wish the Times would print a correction–which so far they have not.
 
We are only left with this small footnote in tiny print, with no explanation and which no one will probably read:
 
 
Let me zoom in on that:

I’m also happy that Ben has clarified that Nasrallah “did not target Sunnis in general” and specifically told viewers not to do so. Too bad this line was not included in the piece.

This is not the first time I hear correspondents complain about how their reporting is treated by editors back home. I have heard it many times from Beirut-based journalists working for The New York Times, NPR, CNN and others.

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war for example, I wrote about how reporters were risking their lives to tell a story overseas only to have the narrative changed when it got back to editors and analysts in the US.

On the bright side, readers are watching ever more closely these days and new media can give their voices an impact.

UPDATE: Local TV channel LBC has featured this story and set the record straight on what Nasrallah actually said, which completely contradicts The Times editor’s interpretation.