Last night I was stunned to see an article on the New York Times web site titled "Israeli Airstrike Kills Three Generations of a Palestinian Family", which led off with this text:
An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep into the ground here Sunday afternoon, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike since the cross-border conflict between Israel and the militant faction Hamas escalated on Wednesday.
The airstrike, along with several others that killed civilians across this coastal territory and hit two media offices here — one of them used by Western TV networks — further indicated that Israel was striking a wider range of targets.
This was a shock because it's almost unheard of to see a story in any mainstream U.S. press, and particularly the Times, that gives a relatively unbiased view of the kind of vicious violence the Israelis are visiting on Palestinians. Though the story did make a few nods to Israeli-centric "balance" later on, the headline and the first two paragraphs made it enough of an outlier that I wondered how it even saw the light of day.
I also doubted it would continue to see the light of day, though. You may have noticed that the link I provided points to a current-at-the-time copy of the story rather than the actual story itself. Why? Because this morning, the story at the original link has been re-titled "Hamas Leader Dares Israel to Invade Amid Gaza Airstrikes", and the text I cited above a) is now buried deep in the article and b) has been changed to the following, which I invite you to compare to the original version:
An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep into the ground here on Sunday, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike since the latest conflict began. Members of the family were buried Monday in a rite that turned into a gesture of defiance and became a rally supporting Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
A militant leader said Tel Aviv, in the Israeli heartland, would be hit "over and over" and warned Israelis that their leaders were misleading them and would "take them to hell."
Now, it's true that the Times and other outlets sometimes maintain stories for current events that are updated regularly as circumstances continue to change. Nonetheless, I can't help but suspect that the original story was produced on a Sunday night when the regular staff of the Times was off for the evening, and when that regular staff came in on Monday morning they quickly corrected the unpalatably accurate, insufficiently Israeli-friendly version of events their night crew had published.
Whatever the case, it's reassuring to see once again that our systems of disinformation are self-correcting.