“Who” Copy-Edited “Whom”?

Did the New York Times editors really begin a paragraph in a collective editorial on the website today with “Whomever [sic] the recipients are, they should be investigated . . .”? It appears that they did (it’s the eighth paragraph down).

Shocking! Look, my intent here is certainly not to fire a rhetorical volley against the mainstream media (MSM), of which the NYT is of course the foremost representative. (That would anyway be outside the remit I have set for this weblog, namely “Commentary on the European non-English-language Press” . . . oops, looks like it’s too late for that now!) It’s clear that EuroSavant critically depends on the MSM, although usually its foreign-language variant, for the very justification of our existence. (I would expect that the relationship be viewed as commensal rather than parasitic.) I definitely wish the NYT and all its MSM brethren well, whether they are of direct use to this weblog or not. It’s just that one defense of their continued existence has been their higher standards, of reporting, of accuracy – of proofreading, too. Yet on this evidence it seems that cutbacks on staff at the Grey Lady have reached the point where they don’t even have a copy-editor available to review their leaders, or at least one familiar with the difference between the subjective and objective cases.

(Hat-tip to Talking Points Memo, who nonetheless either did not feel it incumbent on themselves to insert a “[sic]” after the offending “Whomever” or else somehow also did not notice it.)

UPDATE: Aha! I just happened to look again at the offending NYT editorial a week later, on Tuesday 10 March, and that “Whomever” has been corrected! Of course, there is no indication anywhere by the NYT editors that they actually changed anything in this piece after it first appeared on their website, other than that vague statement at the bottom that “A version of this article appeared in print . . .” BTW, just in case you don’t believe me that “Whomever” was there originally, you can check out the quotation of that editorial in Talking Points Memo, where it remains.

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