The Times today published a correction to yesterday’s disputed sub-hed:
The subheading with a front-page headline on Wednesday for an article about discussions between four top White House lawyers and the Central Intelligence Agency over whether to destroy videotapes showing secret interrogations of members of Al Qaeda referred imprecisely to the White House’s position thus far on the matter. While Bush administration officials have acknowledged some discussions leading up to the destruction of the tapes in November 2005, as the article noted, the White House itself has not officially said anything on the subject, so its role was not “wider than it said.”
I’m still a little confused as to why, if the White House hasn’t said anything on the subject, it’s factually incorrect to say that, on the basis of new evidence, its role was “wider than it said.”
But whatever. As The Times understands, the substance of the report — that White House lawyers were involved in the decision to destroy interrogation tapes — which the White House doesn’t deny, is a whole lot more important than the dispute over the sub-hed. By conceding the minor point, The Times has ensured that the focus stays on the news itself — which is exactly what the White House wanted to avoid.