The New York Times quietly revised a piece on stop-and-frisk and Attorney General Eric Holder that ran on the front page of the paper Tuesday following criticism from a spokesman for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vorgna said on social media said that piece unfairly gave the impression in the opening paragraph that the policies of stop-and-frisk were to blame for higher incarceration rates.
“Two decisions on Monday, one by a federal judge in New York and the other by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., were powerful signals that the pendulum has swung away from the tough-on-crime policies of a generation ago,” the New York Times story reads. “Those policies have been denounced as discriminatory and responsible for explosive growth in the prison population.”
By Wednesday, the bolded text above, which had been the point of contention was removed from the article, although a cached version from the search engine Google remains online.
“Front page NYT today incorrectly lumps stop/frisk in w/national mass incarceration trend. Incarceration rates in NYC have plummeted,” tweeted La Vorgna.
“I know this b/c I read front page of NYT in Jan., which showed NYC w/huge declines in incarceration,” he added linking to a January 2013 piece from the New York Times on declining incarceration rates in New York City.
The item linked by La Vorgna boasted that New York City had bucked the national trend of increased prison numbers over the past two decades, largely crediting the city expanding its police force and aggressively enforcing its laws.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that federal prosecutors would not longer use mandatory minimum sentencing laws for some low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. A judge also found that the stop-and-frisk practices by New York City police officers was unconstitutional.
A New York Times spokesperson told BuzzFeed “the change was made to avoid repeating the same thoughts below in the story. These types of changes are common when editing web stories.”
This story has been updated