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January 20, 2014

An Appended Correction "From The Straits of Gibraltar to the Cairo Pass"?

gibraltar to Khyber.JPG

On January 18, The New York Times published an article by its chief correspondent in Jerusalem, Jodi Rudoren, claiming Israel has "embraced a castle mentality." Aside from a hint of the customary dismissive tone toward Israeli concerns, the article was not particularly unusual. But it did contain something that raised eyebrows — at least for one day, that is.

At the bottom of the on-line version of the article a correction update was appended.

Correction: January 19, 2014 An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. He made reference to the Khyber Pass, not the Cairo Pass.

The correction referred to a quoted statement appearing in the original published version of the article. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said,"From the Straits of Gibraltar to the Khyber Pass, it’s very hard to come by a safe and secure area..."

The article, however, substituted the words "Cairo Pass" for "Kyber Pass."

So what's the big deal?

First of all, as far as we know there is no such thing as the "Cairo Pass" although some non-geographic possibilities come to mind. Second of all, even the most rudimentary knowledge of geography would establish that the region from Gibraltar to Cairo only encompasses North Africa and completely leaves out the Middle East and Israel.

That raises the question as to why would the Israeli Prime Minister make a comment about a region of North Africa that did not even touch Israel in a discussion about instability surrounding Israel? In other words, the comment as originally quoted makes no sense at all.

Yet somehow, it got transcribed by the reporter, approved by the editor and published in the newspaper.

Although The Times is to be commended for catching the error and appending a correction, some uncomfortable questions are raised about basic geographic knowledge of the region at the "newspaper of record." The fact that both the reporter and the editor failed to instantly recognize the absurdity of the statement "From the Straits of Gibraltar to the Cairo Pass" in an article about instability in the Middle East and the dangers surrounding Israel is disconcerting.

Posted by SS at January 20, 2014 02:58 PM


Laughable -- Rudoren and The Times need to brush up their geography.
Such an error cries out for Gilbert and Sullivan.

Posted by: Dorothy Wigod at January 25, 2014 04:56 PM

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