Seems the New York Times is beginning to learn from the mistakes its public editor Clark Hoyt addressed when he acknowledged the Old Gray Lady’s sloth in in reporting scandal swirling around ACORN. The paper reported yesterday (and on Page A19 of its New York section today) that:
An internal review at Acorn, the embattled community organizing group, revealed that its founder’s brother had embezzled $5 million from the group, five times more than the amount disclosed, according to a subpoena served Monday by the Louisiana attorney general. But the organization’s chief executive denied that any internal review had revealed that figure.
The article seems relatively even-handed, until the end where reporter Campbell Robertson writes, “workers at Acorn were caught on videotape offering business advice to two conservative activists posing as a prostitute and a pimp.” (Emphasis added.) Um, wonder if the Times uses a comparable adjective to describe left-wing organizations investigating conservative groups or corporations. (Robertson, for example, identified ACORN as a “community organizing group,” but does not indicate its left-wing inclinations.)
Michelle Malkin finds the story more slanted toward ACORN than I did, perhaps because she’s aware of what the Times left out:
Former ACORN/Project Vote worker Anita MonCrief — the independent whistleblower who worked closely with NYTimes reporter Stephanie Strom on exposing ACORN financial shenanigans last year before Times editors “cut bait” just weeks before Election Day — informed Strom that the true figure was $5 million.
MonCrief also reported the $5 million figure to Warner Todd Huston in April 2009.
Maybe Michelle is right. I do think it’s entirely appropriate to quote the head of the organization embroiled in scandal, but it does seem that Robertson took ACORN chief executive Bertha Lewis’s statements disputing the amount embezzled at face value.
Don’t think he’d have done that had Ms. Lewis headed an embattled conservative organization. And do think that were this story about such a group, the coverage would be slightly more substantial than a single 340-word article relegated to page A19 of the New York section.
Still, for the New York Times, it’s a step in the right direction. And that’s something to acknowledge.