On Thursday (June 3), the Times added an editor’s note to the end of author Lynn Hirschberg’s controversial M.I.A. magazine feature that backed up the singer’s assertions that several of her quotes had been taken out of context in the piece.
The note singles out one instance, in which M.I.A. is quoted as saying, “I wasn’t trying to be like Bono. He’s not from Africa — I’m from there. I’m tired of pop stars who say, ’Give peace a chance.’ I’d rather say, ’Give war a chance.’ The whole point of going to the Grammys was to say, ’Hey, 50,000 people are gonna die next month, and here’s your opportunity to help.’ And no one did.” The addendum says the quote was contextually incorrect, as it actually contains two separate statements M.I.A. made during her interview with Hirschberg.
“While M.I.A. did make those remarks, she did not make the entire statement at the same point in the interview, nor in the order in which it was presented,” the note reads. “The part that begins, ’The whole point of going to the Grammys,’ up to the end of the quotation, actually came first. The part that begins, ’I wasn’t trying to be like Bono,’ and ends, ’Give war a chance,’ came later in the same interview. The article should have made clear that the two quotations came from different parts of the interview.”
Late last week, after tweeting Hirschberg’s phone number, M.I.A. promised to post an “unedited version” of the Times interview on the website of her label, Neet. “News is an opinion!” she wrote. She eventually posted just a pair of audio clips from her conversation with Hirschberg, one of which contained her quote about going to the Grammys. She also included a dis track (presumably aimed at Hirschberg) called “I’m A Singer,” which features the lines, “And the story’s always f—ed by the time it hits/ Why the hell would journalists be thick as sh–.”
It’s not clear if M.I.A.’s protests were what caused the Times to attach the editor’s note to Hirschberg’s piece. M.I.A. has remained silent on the matter, and the Times and Interscope Records have not returned requests for comment at press time.