Over the course of the past year, the New York Times has provided ample coverage to a series of potential U.S. Senate candidates from New York--none of whom are actually running for office. Meanwhile, a candidate who is in fact challenging incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in the September 2010 primary has been all but erased from the picture. That progressive activist Jonathan Tasini is running against Gillibrand, who was appointed to the seat in 2009, is known to Times readers who happened to catch a single January 27, 2010, story by N.R. Kleinfeld, headlined "An Underdog Who Isn't Daunted by […]
Tasini campaign not 'fit to print'?
In a response to a FAIR action alert (3/11/10), New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt (3/21/10) acknowledged that the paper got key facts wrong in reporting on the undercover videos attacking the community organizing group ACORN. The main issue was the fact that James O'Keefe, the activist who produced the videos, did not actually dress up like a "pimp" when he visited the offices. This was a major theme in stories that appeared in the Times and elsewhere: As FAIR pointed out, O'Keefe's supposed get-up was one of "the key contentions of the ACORN smear--that the group is so […]
Why can't paper admit its mistakes?
Ignoring calls from numerous critics, the New York Times refuses to own up to mistakes in the paper's coverage of the now-famous right-wing videotapes attacking the community organizing group ACORN. Instead, the paper's public editor, Clark Hoyt, is relying on an absurd semantic justification in order to claim the paper does not need to print any corrections. As conventionally reported in the Times and elsewhere, right-wing activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute and visited several local ACORN offices, where office workers gave the duo advice on setting up a brothel, concealing a […]
Hoyt urges Bronner's reassignment; Keller denounces 'savage partisans'
New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt (2/6/10) responded to messages from FAIR activists (Action Alert, 1/27/10; FAIR Blog, 1/27/10) by affirming that a reporter covering a conflict in which his child is an armed participant ought to be reassigned. But Times executive editor Bill Keller (2/6/10) rejected Hoyt's reasoning, saying that Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner would remain at his post despite revelations that his son had joined the Israeli Defense Forces. Calling Bronner a "superb reporter" with "an excellent track record," Hoyt said the news about his son's enlistment (Electronic Intifada, 1/25/10) raised "tough questions": The Times sent […]
Foreign editor treats potential conflict as none of our business
The New York Times refuses to confirm or deny a report that its Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, has a child who is an enlisted member of the Israeli Defense Force--even though such a relationship would pose a serious conflict of interest. The Electronic Intifada website (1/25/10), following a tip, asked Bronner whether it was true that he had a son in the IDF. EI got a reply from Times foreign editor Susan Chira: Ethan Bronner referred your query to me, the foreign editor. Here is my comment: Mr. Bronner's son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. […]
Paper failed to question Pentagon propaganda on Gitmo prisoners
Citing a FAIR Action Alert (5/27/09), New York Times ombud Clark Hoyt agreed with media activists who asked him to challenge the Times' unskeptical coverage of a leaked Pentagon report on former Guantánamo prisoners. In his column "What Happened to Skepticism?" (6/6/09), Hoyt called the Times' May 21 front-page story on the report "seriously flawed." He wrote that the article provided "ammunition" for Dick Cheney's campaign against Obama's plan to close the offshore prison camp, and compared the piece to the Times' uncritical coverage of leaked intelligence on WMDs in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Hoyt also noted that […]
Misleading report on Guantánamo and terrorism
While former Vice President Dick Cheney has been front and center in the media debate over the current White House's national security policies, he's not the only one trying to challenge the White House's message. The New York Times published a front-page article (5/21/09) that bolstered the notion that former Guantánamo prisoners "return" to terrorist activity. The remarkably credulous Times story, under the headline "1 in 7 Freed Detainees Rejoins Fight, Report Finds," was based on a Pentagon report leaked to the paper before its release yesterday evening. The article emphasized the notion that former prisoners "returned to terrorism or […]
Look back at Iraq features nine hawkish 'experts'
The New York Times offered a look back at the Iraq War in its March 16 "Week In Review" section that leaned heavily towards pro-war voices. The Times explained to readers: "To mark this week's fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Op-Ed page asked nine experts on military and foreign affairs to reflect on their attitudes in the spring of 2003 and to comment on the one aspect of the war that most surprised them or that they wished they had considered in the prewar debate." The "experts" who were asked to weigh in all more or less […]