It has been a full week since Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the New York Times acknowledged the Old Gray Lady’s sloth in reporting the scandal swirling around ACORN:
. . . for days, as more videos were posted and government authorities rushed to distance themselves from Acorn, The Times stood still. Its slow reflexes — closely following its slow response to a controversy that forced the resignation of Van Jones, a White House adviser — suggested that it has trouble dealing with stories arising from the polemical world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs.
The paper still has a lot of catching up to do. Over at Big Government, Matthew Vadum blogs about a memo from attorney Elizabeth Kingsley to the controversial left-wing organization telling them, in so many words, to clean up their act.
“But whether you try to implement some or all of these recommendations, there must be someone committed to follow-up. There must be a review mechanism, and a means of holding people accountable after any final decisions are made. If you do not make some hard choices now and ensure they are carried out, they almost certainly will be made for you.
Building on his post in an article on the American Spectator’s site, Vadum points that Kingsley discovered systemic problems with ACORN:
Kingsley explains that her concerns fall into four major categories: “respect for corporate integrity, the necessary separation between different types of political work, the niceties of 501(c)(3) tax compliance and accounting for those funds, and a big-picture question about organizational capacity.” She goes to great pains explaining that she is not trying to single any person out, “but to point to systemic institutional concerns.”
Vadum points something else which gets at the hollowness of Hoyt’s expressed resolve that his paper do a better job of reporting stories unearthed on the right: “the New York Times has published excerpts of the document”. So, maybe, you think, they’re getting their act together. If you thought that, you’re sure to be disappointed. When you follow the link to the Old Gray Lady, you get an article from last October, as in 2008, nearly one full year ago. I get the same results when I do a google search of te paper’s web-site: no mention of Ms. Kingsley and ACORN since October 22, 2008.
Using the paper’s own search engine, I get this response: “ACORN Elizabeth Kingsley – did not match any documents under , Past 30 Days.” The Times clearly has access to this memo. ACORN is in the news. The paper acknowledges its failure to cover this story in a timely manner. You’d think they would try to make up for past mistakes by revisiting this issue, perhaps trying to interview Ms. Kingsley or any of the memo’s recipients in the wake of the latest controversy.
It would show a clear commitment to following up on a story the paper acknowledges neglecting. But, then again, this may not be the news its editors find fit to print.