Journalistic malpractice

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on October 4, 2005

Over at The New York Times, America's paper of record is again sitting on a politically inconvenient story. A couple of months ago took the Times several weeks to finally report on the liberal talk radio network Air America taking money from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx.

Now, the Times is doing not much at all about a scandal in its own backyard.

bcalame - 10:15 AM ET September 30, 2005 (#15 of 15)

Other Voices: Why No Article on Democratic Campaign Tactics?


Public Editor:

Let me get this straight: a Democratic senator from NEW YORK has had two top aides accused of illegally tracing credit information from a potential Republican senatorial candidate. The aides have resigned and there is a FEDERAL investigation into the matter. And The New York Times has not printed ONE word about it.

Aren't you even occasionally a little embarrassed?

Andy Ahrens
New Canaan, CT



Dear Mr. Ahrens:

I’ve been asking editors since Monday about the situation involving the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and confidential credit records of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a Republican. The Times now has reporters looking into it.

Byron Calame
Public Editor
The New York Times

The story first broke on Sept. 21. You can see the dates on the letter to Times public editor Byron Calame and Calame's response. Today is Oct. 4 and the Times still hasn't published word one about the investigation.

For those who aren't familiar with basic journalistic practice, let me enlighten you. When you've been beat on a story, you don't proceed to ignore the subject until you've got something to advance the story -- that's a disservice to your readers. No, you run what you know and what you can, even if it's simply an Associated Press report with "just the facts." It's been nearly two weeks, and if you were stuck getting your news from the Times, you'd be woefully uninformed.

I hate to play partisan games here, but I suspect that if it had been two members of Sen. Bill Frist's staff who had illegally obtained Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's credit report that the Times would have found it important enough to run something.

Bill Keller, what are you doing to what was once America's best newspaper?


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October 2005



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