The New Yorker Interviews Twice to be Sure

David Remnick says that the trademark attribute of The New Yorker is the insistence on accuracy. The legendary editor of the world’s most desirable publishing market was interviewed in Haartez, an Israeli News outlet.

“When I go to interview, for example, Sheikh Naif Rajoub, one of the leaders of Hamas, I go with a translator, because I do not speak Arabic. I don’t want to record too much, because that is double the work. I write pretty fast, and I know what to omit. But that’s okay. Because afterward, at the office, our Arabic fact checker – a very talented Lebanese-American woman – will call Sheikh Rajoub and go over it with him, fact after fact. She will ask, ‘You said that you will never recognize Israel – is that true?’ And he will confirm or refute. ‘Is it true that you were born in 1948?’ ‘Is it true that you have three children?’

Every fact found in my article is checked and confirmed. As editor of the magazine, it is embarrassing to be caught with mistakes, and I hope that there will not be any, but I feel very good when I know there is someone checking up after me.”

In other words, every person interviewed by The New Yorker by necessity has to be interviewed twice, once with the reporter and a second time with the fact-checker?

“Yes, absolutely. And media-savvy interviewees feel confident because of this. It gives them the feeling that they can speak freely, and that their words will be presented precisely.” Remnick notes that if interview subjects deny to the fact-checker quotes appearing in an article, the quotes will not always be immediately invalidated.