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Pro-Life Website Forces Correction From NY Times

(CNSNews.com) - Five weeks after the New York Times was notified about a major error in its reporting on abortions in El Salvador, the newspaper finally ran a correction on Sunday.

An April 9 cover story in the New York Times Sunday magazine falsely reported that some women in El Salvador had been imprisoned for thirty years for having illegal abortions.

A pro-life website, LifeSiteNews.com, was the first to question the article's accuracy. In late November, LifeSiteNews reported that Carmen Climaco, the woman featured in the article, had not been jailed for having an abortion, as the New York Times reported.

In fact, she had been jailed for infanticide -- strangling her full-term baby.

On Dec. 31, New York Times ombudsman Byron Calame corroborated the facts presented by LifeSiteNews.com:

"The care taken in the reporting and editing of [Climaco's] example didn't meet the magazine's normal standards. Although Sarah H. Smith, the magazine's editorial manager, told me that relevant court documents are 'normally' reviewed, [freelance writer Jack Hitt] never checked the 7,600-word ruling in the Climaco case while preparing his story. And Mr. Hitt told me that no editor or fact checker ever asked him if he had checked the court document containing the panel's decision."

On Sunday, the New York Times magazine ran a correction. An editor's note admitted that the newspaper should have examined the actual court ruling in the infanticide case before publishing the article.

The newspaper admitted it "did not vigorously pursue the document until details of the ruling were brought to the attention of editors in late November."

The editor's note said Carmen Climaco "was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a case that was initially thought to be an abortion but was later ruled to be a homicide; she was not given 30 years in prison for an abortion that was ruled a homicide."

LifeSiteNews.com described the New York Times report as an "emotionally laden piece" reflecting the "pro-abortion bias of the New York Times."

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin accused the newspaper's editors of having no shame. Her Jan. 3 column, published by Cybercast News Service, was entitled "All the Abortion Lies Fit to Print."