The Emperor May Have Had Fewer Clothes Than Originally Reported

The Editors have become concerned at the reporting in these pages over the last year. Accordingly, we have undertaken a painstaking review of all stories and reporting of the Emperor over the past 12 months. As other events have shown, we believe our dedication to the truth and – when necessary – cleaning our own house, has been demonstrated, but constant vigilance is required to maintain the proud traditions of this newspaper, the paper of record.

First of all, we have found much to be proud of. There is no question that the Emperor actually exists, and the Times has been in the lead in not only reporting the Emperor’s existence, but actually requiring our reporters to have personally seen him, or at least spoken with two others of unquestionable repute who have seen him. Further, we have established beyond doubt that these reputable sightings have occurred in the past year, sourced independently at least twice, or something.

Second, there is no one person or set of persons who has been found to be inaccurate in reporting or editing. We believe in this case that all of our staff have behaved professionally and responsibly, and that there have been no cases of blatant fabrication, as unfortunately happened before with the Blair person. It would be horrible to think it had happened again, at least so quickly.

We have found, however, that our reporting of the Emperor’s clothing has been less, or in this case more (as it were), than we would have wished. We employed at all times standard operating procedure for evidence in journalism, which is to get there first with the most accurate. While we have succeeded in the former, there may have been, in the heat of journalistic fervor, some lapses in the latter. We still believe that our reporting was based on the best available evidence, at least the evidence we were prepared to look for at the time, which in hindsight, which of course is 20/20, was, as we say in the newsroom, complete horsesh*t. That, of course, is easy to say now.

We still believe it is not fair to say that the Emperor has no clothes. We know he has clothes and has worn them. The evidence is not yet all in that he has not worn clothes in the past year, and that the absence of clothes, pointed out so vociferously by others (no-names really, some of them children) has not been established beyond doubt. Until this matter is concluded, which may require study by historians and even then may not be conclusive, we will continue to pursue reporting that we believe is in the best interests of this newspaper and this country. We’ll find the evidence later.