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July 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The New York Times has come to the defense of its TV critic, Alessandra Stanley, after her report on Ann Curry’s departure from the Today show was assailed by the president of NBC News as an example of sloppy journalism. Steve Capus told the Hollywood Reporter: “When a television critic writes a critique of a program and then later admits she hasn’t watched the television broadcast, that’s bad journalism. That’s not just a mistake.” Stanley’s report contained a number of errors, including the assertion that the network aired a highlight reel of Curry’s contributions to Today during her final broadcast. It did no such thing. In an interview with the Poynter Institute’s Steve Myers, New York Times Culture Editor Jonathan Landman said that he had assigned Stanley to watch both the Today show and coverage of the Supreme Court’s Obama care ruling. He said that Stanley watched part of Today, then switched to the Supreme Court telecasts. She later watched the Today show clip of Curry’s farewell on the NBC News website and when that was followed by a highlight reel of Curry’s appearances on Today (she had been its news reader), she assumed wrongly that that was also a part of the show. (If she had watched the clip reel she would have realized that it was aired a year ago when Curry took over co-hosting duties from Meredith Veiera.) “I can’t — cannot, don’t mean to, will not — defend any mistake,” Landman told Myers. “I wish we made zero mistakes … [but] there’s been nothing in recent years that would lead you to single her out as anything close to a problem.” In fact, Stanley has been singled out as a problem for years. editor John Cook once referred to her as “America’s wrongest television critic.” In fact after several websites pounced on the fact that Stanley’s articles had resulted in so many correction notes by the newspaper that she reportedly was assigned her own personal fact checker. Whether she still has someone to monitor her work is not known. But Landman said that in 2011 Stanley wrote 99 stories and that 11 of them resulted in correction notes. “That’s a damn good record,” he said.