Powerline’s Scott Johnson succinctly sums up one thing that sticks in my craw about the New York Times’ front page hit piece on House Minority Leader John Boehner: “In [Boehner Spokesman Michael] Steel’s email exchange with [NYT reporter Eric] Lipton, Steel offered to explain the rationale for Boehner’s positions on the cited issues. Lipton did not take up the offer.”
In writing a prominent article on one of the leading members of the opposition party in Congress, a reporter from the journal once deemed the paper of record, only contacts the Congressman to confirm his opposition to issues the anonymous lobbyist in question also opposed:
Steel says he received a fact-checking email from Times reporter Eric Lipton Friday evening asking if Boehner did in fact oppose the cap on greenhouse gases, the tax change for hedge fund executives, the debit card fee cap, and increased fees on oil and gas companies. “Yes, that is correct,” Steel responded to Lipton, adding “I can tell you why, if you care.” Steel says he received no further notes from Lipton.
Aren’t journalists trained to seek out both sides in a controversy?
This reporter wasn’t even interested in Boehner’s side of the story. You think his purpose was not reporting the story, but making sure it had the spin he wanted.
If the Old Gray Lady were the woman she once was, she would have held this story until the reporter solicited Boehner’s input and would likely have chastised Lipton for failing to seek out that information when he did his initial research.