NYT Overstated Christie Bridgegate Knowledge

Times edited original copy, didn't disclose doing so

The New York Times had to change a story it published regarding the potential existence of evidence that links New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to the growing scandal over lane closures.

The story originally presented a Port Authority's claim as a fact. The revised version, which was not noted as being revised, couched the claim in more appropriate terms.

Politico's Dylan Byers has the story, which involves a mea culpa of sorts from the Times's public editor:

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan believes her paper should have disclosed a change it made to last week's report on allegations against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The story, which was published late Friday afternoon, initially stated that former New York Port Authority official David Wildstein "had evidence to prove" Gov. Christie knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closings while they were happening. An updated version reported that Wildstein had said "evidence exists" of Christie's knowledge.

The Times made no mention of the change until the following day, when it reported on an email to supporters in which Christie attacked the paper for "sloppy reporting."

"This change was more than a nuance," Sullivan wrote on Monday. "Acknowledging that could have taken the form of a straightforward correction. The change also could have been explained in an editor’s note or could even have been acknowledged in a sentence in the body of the article."