Sunday, March 21, 2010

Public Editor: Times was wrong about ACORN, should have assigned one reporter to follow narrative (and what about AY?)

Today, in a remarkable but late mea/nostra culpa headlined The Acorn Sting Revisited, New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt agrees that the paper misled readers by describing James O'Keefe as presenting himself as a pimp in some heavily edited videos.

Hoyt writes:
Here is what I found: O’Keefe almost certainly did not go into the Acorn offices in the outlandish costume — fur coat, goggle-like sunglasses, walking stick and broad-brimmed hat — in which he appeared at the beginning and end of most of his videos. It is easy to see why The Times and other news organizations got a different impression.

...But I am satisfied that The Times was wrong on this point, and I have been wrong in defending the paper’s phrasing. Editors say they are considering a correction.
(Hoyt, of course, has never addressed the Times's failure to cover--and later, minimal coverage--of ACORN's bailout by Forest City Ratner.)

Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog takes issue with Hoyt's conclusion that O'Keefe "clearly presented himself" as a pimp.

The problems with inconsistent coverage

For Atlantic Yards watchers, perhaps the key Hoyt passage was this:
The report [on ACORN] by Harshbarger and Crafts was not covered by The Times. It should have been, but the Acorn/O’Keefe story became something of an orphan at the paper. At least 14 reporters, reporting to different sets of editors, have touched it since last fall. Nobody owns it. Bill Keller, the executive editor, said that, “sensing the story would not go away and would be part of a larger narrative,” the paper should have assigned one reporter to be responsible for it.
The same goes for Atlantic Yards, where the Times sent an AY rookie to cover the March 11 groundbreaking.

Added Eric McClure of NoLandGrab: But the paper covers the heck out of the Nets' silly promotions, carnival hype and community outreach, all of which have questionable news value — and always forgets to mention the business relationship between the team owner's role in developing the paper's headquarters building.

No comments:

Post a Comment