Ms. Maureen Dowd
The NewYork Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10036

Dear Ms. Dowd:

Your handling of the distorted quotation you attributed to President Bush was simply dishonest. You left out a relevant part of his quote about al Qaeda in order to make it seem that he was saying that the organization as a whole was not a problem. What he said, as you subsequently reported, was that members of the organization who were dead or captured were not a problem. But in reporting the entire quotation, you failed to inform your readers you had previously distorted it to make a political point. Basic honesty requires a straightforward acknowledgement of your error. The Jayson Blair scandal may have been uncovered earlier if the Times had publicly corrected his errors by name and in detail when they occurred. Your obfuscation of your own mistake continues the policy that allowed the Blair scandal to grow.