The New York Times was taken to the woodshed after suggesting the Big Apple’s official seal features a noose, with netizens rushing to inform the newspaper that the object in question is, in fact, an antiquated measuring device.

In a report published on Monday, the Times noted that New York’s emblem is facing “scrutiny” and could soon see a facelift, citing its “cartoonish” depiction of a Native American man in a loincloth alongside an early American settler. While the paper accurately described some of the seal’s symbolism – observing that beavers on the emblem represent the fur trade, for example – the Times apparently had a harder time interpreting the settler, who is seen holding an object in his right hand.

“The seal also features an early American settler holding a rope with what appears to be a loop on its end,” the Times wrote in a photo caption – implying there is some mystery as to what the device could be – adding: “The official New York City website describes the rope as a tool used to measure the depth of water.”

Later in the story, the paper also informed its readers that “in some depictions of the seal, the loop looks more like a stone” – apparently struggling to grasp that the “loop” is not a “loop” at all, but a plummet, or a weight used to measure the depth of water, precisely as the city’s website described.

Times editor Cliff Levy – previously the paper’s Moscow bureau chief – was also seemingly baffled by the outdated technology, tweeting out the article with a caption describing the device as a “long rope with a loop on its end,” again implying something more nefarious.

This ratio is going to be a pleasure to watch.“Assistant Managing Editor,” doesn’t bother to look up what a depth finder looks like.

Netizens have since taken note of the blunder, with some unsparing in their correction of America’s ‘newspaper of record.’

the seal depicts a Dutch sailor holding a plummet. the New York Times, however, sees a noose. it doesn’t say as much out loud, but it definitely tries to lead its readers there. 2/

It’s called a “lead line.” It’s used to measure depth in fathoms. Historical descriptions of the seal have always referred to the figure on the left as a SAILOR. An “analyst” would know that!

Really plumbing the depths of ignorance here

With a virtually endless stream of racialized scandals in recent months, some commenters incorporated previous controversies while mocking the Times’ latest attempt to stir the pot – citing a recent noose-related incident linked to NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace, as well as a row over a T-shirt put out by Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, which critics said featured a “Nazi eagle.”

looks like a garage pull to me

Don’t forget what looks to be a Nazi eagle at the top of the seal!

The Times also drew a comparison to a more controversial seal, that of the town of Whitesboro, New York, which depicts a legendary wrestling match between a Native American and the town’s founder, Hugh White. Though the apocryphal bout was a friendly one, according to the town’s local mythos, an older version of that seal did come under criticism and was modified in 1970, following a lawsuit brought by a Native American activist group.

ok they’re screwing with us. there’s no way this last part about the Whitesboro seal was written in earnest.

for reference, this is the Whitesboro seal. it depicts a friendly Indian wrestling match (seriously, read the history). even I know that. it does not show a settler “throttling” a Native American. 5/

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