The New York Times has done it again. In an article about London’s exciting food scene, a writer reflects on days gone by, proclaiming that when he last visited the capital, it was “inclining its palate to devotees of porridge and boiled mutton”.
Despite giving the impression his last visit may have been to a Victorian workhouse, the reporter goes on to reveal it was in fact just 10 years ago.
Of course, this led to immediate ridicule on Twitter:
Unfortunately for the NYT, this isn’t the first time they’ve missed the mark when it comes to reporting on the UK.
In recent years, angry local councils have sought corrections, while a famous author derided the paper’s terror attack reporting.
And that’s before the batter-based telling-off from aggrieved pudding purists.
Here are five other times the NYT has got it wrong...
Sunderland Echo demanding an apology
Staff at the Sunderland Echo were not impressed when NYT reporter Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura arrived on their patch to examine how “the once-proud working class city” ended up voting in favour of Brexit.
De Freytas-Tamura’s decision to describe one part of town as “appearing as if out of a time warp” didn’t endear her to residents, and the Echo soon wrote its own response.
The paper’s managing editor demanded an apology and said: “This article doesn’t reflect the Sunderland of the 21st century and the astonishing progress we have made as a city over the past 30 years.
“We want to set them straight and show them what the people of Sunderland think about their article.”
They also criticised the NYT’s choice of photographer, pointing out that the one paid to capture Sunderland is usually dispatched to war zones.
The ‘Brexit Means Brexit’ tour of London
Alongside its articles, The New York Times offers readers a series of travel experiences and in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, one of these was a “Brexit means Brexit”-themed jaunt.
Priced at $5,995, the five-night trip promised readers a guided tour of the capital city, hosted by their London bureau chief Steve Erlanger, and an afternoon in a pub frequented by government ministers.
The problem – as Mashable pointed out – is that London probably isn’t the best place to get a snapshot of “Brexit Britain”, as 28 of its 33 boroughs voted Remain.
The Brexit holiday – if you could call it that – is no longer listed on the NYT website and we’re sure their readers eagerly await the announcement of a more authentic tour. Clacton, anyone?
JK Rowling vs NYT
The Harry Potter author led the charge when the paper claimed the UK was “reeling” from terror attacks in Manchester and London.
“The thugs who mowed down innocent people would love to think of the UK ‘reeling’ but it isn’t,” she wrote in June last year. “Don’t confuse grief with lack of courage.”
Many like-minded Twitter users echoed Rowling’s statements:
Telling ‘half the story’ on Prescot
In May, the NYT caused controversy with a piece on how austerity has affected Britain by singling out Prescot, Merseyside, as a town that’s been hit hardest.
The opening paragraphs of the article painted a bleak picture, describing a library sold off and turned into a luxury home, a leisure centre destroyed and a “shuttered” police station.
“As the local government desperately seeks to turn assets into cash,” it continued. “Browns Field, a lush park in the center of town, may be doomed, too.”
Britons reading online were suitably skeptical and soon enough, local website Prescot Online hit back with its own piece on why the area is actually “on the up” and claiming the NYT only “told half the story”.
The leader of Prescot town council also responded, accusing the NYT’s reporter Peter Goodman of “overlook[ing] the many positive aspects of our town’s development and regeneration, such as the addition of the new Shakespeare North theatre, which is a considerable investment and has already started to reinvigorate the town”.
The Yorkshire pudding debacle
On a lighter note, the publication had us all howling when it introduced readers to a “large fluffy pancake” suitable for breakfast or dessert.
Why? Because the pancake was quite clearly a Yorkshire pudding and it takes more than a dusting of icing sugar to fool us: