NYT corrects journalistic "error" on MIA article

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 June 2010, 03:46 GMT]
New York Times (NYT) in a correction published Thursday admitted that NYT journlalist Lynn Hirschberg used quotes from an interview with Jaffna born music phenom Maya Arulpragasam (known by popular name MIA) out of context to misrepresent her views on the Tamil conflict. Hirschberg also wrote "Maya taps into her rage at the persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka to espouse violence," pointing to Maya's lyrics "You wanna win a war?/Like P.L.O. I don’t surrender.” A media outlet commented "within the context of the song, there’s no way to interpret the lyrics this way, unless you’re coming into it with a certain agenda."

Maya Mathangi Arulpragasam, Grammy, Oscar nominee
Maya Mathangi Arulpragasam, Grammy, Oscar nominee
During the interview MIA said, (she posted this on her website, and NYT admitted this as the original) “It wasn’t just about me, and me getting to the Oscars or me going to the Grammys – that doesn’t mean anything. The whole point of that journey was so you can go ‘hey – 50 000 people are going to die next month, here’s your opportunity to help,’ and no one did, and they still died. It wasn’t about accolades or fame,” referring to the Mullaiththeevu slaughter of Tamil civilians by the Government of Sri Lanka.

NYT admitted that the journalist omitted sections, and re-ordered the quotations to change the meaning.

"You don’t have to read much between the lines to see that Hirschberg went into the project with the intention of writing a character assassination, and that her likely motivation is political, and in the worst way possible," a Toronto-based daily said describing the initial NYT piece that irked the Singer.

After the unflattering profile about M.I.A. was published in New York Times Magazine last week, MIA published Hirschberg's phone number on Twitter which brought the confrontation to the public domain.

"A few days later, she posted recordings from the interview that showed how her quotes were altered, and that she wasn't the one who ordered the infamous truffle fries, a detail that many readers thought painted M.I.A. in an elitist light. The 'Paper Planes' hitmaker also posted a song, 'I'm a Singer (Haters),' with a song she wrote describing how she feels about Hirschberg and other journalists," one article described the on-going fued between MIA and NYT.

Although NYT published correction to the quoted paragraph, the newspaper didn't address many other parts of the article that many news outlets picked up on.

Media outlets speculated that the NYT's correction may not be adequate to placate the singer.


Chronology:


External Links:
SP: M.I.A. Lashes Out, Via Twitter, at NY Times
NYO: Lynn Hirschberg's Response to M.I.A. Tweet: 'Fairly Unethical' and 'Infuriating'
NYT: M.I.A.'s agitprop Pop
SP: M.I.A. Posts Journalist's Phone Number on Twitter Out of Spite
SP: New York Times Makes Correction to M.I.A. Article
NOW: In defense of M.I.A.
NPR: Foreign Policy: Listening To M.I.A's Music And Politics

 

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