Why Did the New York Times Scrub Sudsy Story on a Brooklyn Beer Brouhaha?

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Why are people protesting Williamsburg's famed Brooklyn Brewery for contributing to the death of Coney Island when they have nothing to do with it? Because of the New York Times being totally wrong, is why!

The Times' CityRoom blog ran a filing yesterday entitled 9 Coney Island Boardwalk Businesses Lose Leases about the classic Coney staples that are being pushed out of their longtime steads. The L Magazine's Henry Stewart points out that one of those lines read:

Central Amusement is negotiating with Brooklyn Brewery to open a beer hall on the boardwalk, according to two executives involved in the Coney Island amusement district. A spokesman for Central Amusement declined to confirm the report, saying that no new leases had been signed.

Which caused people to protest Brooklyn Brewery! But those local guys wouldn't dare engage in such anti-New York Classicist business, right? As Stewart reports, no, they wouldn't:

"Perhaps their source had mentioned a Brooklyn brewery, not the Brooklyn Brewery," Dan D'Ippolito, the brewery's communications coordinator, wrote in an e-mail to a boycott-proposer. "We have not discussed building or operating a beer garden in Coney Island - nor do we have any interest in doing so."

So why didn't the Times check with Brooklyn Brewery? Well, if you go to the article to look for such a precaution, you'll see that they weren't reached for quote to begin with. In fact, you won't see much about it at all, because the article had the line scrubbed from it, as the Google Cache of the piece has the line, while the piece as it stands doesn't. It doesn't have a correction or a strike-through in it, either!

It's not like Times writers don't have standards for correcting blog posts. Just ask Dave Itzkoff, their ArtsBeat blogger who just called out Deadline Hollywood Daily for getting their facts wrong and not even bothering to correct:

Blogging! It happens. We contacted CityRoom editor Andy Newman to ask what the deal was, and he hasn't responded for immediate comment. CityRoom's a superb and rarely inaccurate blog, so it's not like this is a terrible pattern of anything. But does the Times not correct blog posts on the fly? Or 24 hours later after the original inaccuracy ran? How doesn't this work?

Update 1: There's now a link in the blog post to the print piece on the matter, but still no mention of the correction on either the print piece or on CityRoom.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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