I was interested in the following sentences which appeared, respectively, in a news article titled “Can’t Park? Blame a Condo" and in a news article titled "Senator Simmons on the Negro", both in The New York Times.
1) “In the old days you had to provide parking,” Mr. Greco said. “Now it is to the contrary, and what we are seeing is a slow evaporation of the parking spaces.”
2) The spirit of Senator Simmons's article is not very humane or broad; it is, on the contrary rather narrow and harsh.
Oxford Dictionary of English has entries for both "to the contrary" and "on the contrary":
on the contrary used to intensify a denial of what as just been implied or stated by suggesting that the opposite is the case.
to the contrary with the opposite meaning or implication.
Reading what the vocabulary says, it seems that both journalists use the phrases in a wrong way inverting "to" with "on" and "on" with "to", respectively; but the difference between the two fragments is very slight, so I'm not able to definitively understand if I'm right.
Furthermore, the usage of the two fragments could be become interchangeable nowadays; but I'm not sure on this circumstance.
Can someone clarify if the fragments "to the contrary" and "on the contrary" are being correctly used in both cases?