Small Victories: The New York Times Revises

Posted: February 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Ethics, Media Marketing | 1 Comment »

The New York Times revised its article on the PrePex circumcision device. I have no way of knowing if that change occurred because of my entry on the subject or some other source that provided some revelation to the paper’s editors. Frankly, I don’t much care who got it done. The key is that the Times changed the article to inch closer to reality. It’s not close to perfect, but compare the two. The original:

Dr. Reed said he had heard that another device, Ali’s Klamp, was being tested in Kenya under protocols that seemed to match W.H.O. requirements. According to Circlist.com, a circumcision information Web site, it is a Turkish device dating to 2007, and works on principles similar to those of the Tara Klamp and another device, the SmartKlamp, approved by the F.D.A. in 2004.

The current, revised version:

Dr. Reed said he had heard that another device, Ali’s Klamp, was being tested in Kenya under protocols that seemed to match W.H.O. requirements. According to Circlist.com, a Web site with information about circumcision and arguments favoring it, Ali’s Klamp is a Turkish device dating to 2007, and works on principles similar to those of the Tara Klamp and another device, the SmartKlamp, approved by the F.D.A. in 2004.

This is an improvement.

Now that I’ve stated that, it’s a bit silly for the revision to declare Circlist a site that contains “arguments favoring” circumcision. Circlist is a fetish site. It hosts slash fiction fantasies, pornography, and pro-female genital cutting material, among its offensive content. It pushes unprincipled half-truths and distortions, with strategic omissions, designed to make circumcision seem fantastic and without any ethical flaws or harms, real or potential. The site’s treatment of non-therapeutic child genital cutting is on par with “Teach the Controversy“. It’s propaganda unbounded by facts. The New York Times still needs to ask itself the relevant question: How reliable is Circlist’s “information about circumcision” given the ridiculous nature of its “arguments favoring it”?

Thus, the victory, such that it is, feels hollow. The paper version can’t be revised. The online version still cites the website. It needs further revision, which would hopefully lead to more accurate, ethical coverage of circumcision and its implications for healthy children.

However, that revision is something. Whatever inspired this update, it’s a small sign of progress. We need more of these.


One Comment on “Small Victories: The New York Times Revises”

  1. 1 Joseph4GI said at 11:00 pm on February 2nd, 2012:

    Just a smidge.

    Where’s the vaccine and “60%” correction?

    Infomercial hit piece.

    And now, it seems, they’re advertizing for mohels as well.

    What has NYTimes become! The circumcision classifieds?


Leave a Reply

  • *