Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New York Times journalist Michael Schmidt wrongly reports on Hillary Clinton emails again

New York Times journalist Michael Schmidt desperately needs better editors or researchers before publishing articles on Hillary Clinton emails. In his latest story, he almost definitely assumes wrongly regarding the subject of a completely redacted email.

"Many of the emails released on Monday were heavily redacted, providing only tantalizing hints of what was being discussed. One exchange between Mrs. Clinton and Huma Abedin, a close aide, had the subject line 'Koch,' an apparent reference to either David H. or Charles G. Koch, the billionaire brothers who have helped finance conservative causes. Other than the subject, the entire email was redacted," Michael Schmidt almost definitely misreports.

Since former Democratic NYC Mayor Ed Koch died on February 1, 2013, the Clinton email (pdf link) presumably refers to him. Koch also was a supporter of Hillary Clinton when she ran for president in 2008.



Update: Late Tuesday evening, The New York Times finally fixed Schmidt's article. The line was changed to "One exchange between Mrs. Clinton and Huma Abedin, a close aide, had the subject line 'Koch,' a reference to Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City, according to the Clinton campaign." Popular Internet podcaster @VinceInTheBay tweeted, "There's a correction citing Clinton source. Why didn't he ask campaign before publishing?" Instead of an apology to readers, since it was reported in the newspaper and clearly wasn't fact-checked, there is an insufficient correction that states, "An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly the subject of a Hillary Clinton email that the State Department released on Nov. 30. The subject line “Koch,” was a reference to Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City, according to the Clinton campaign; it was not an apparent reference to either David H. or Charles G. Koch, the billionaire brothers who have helped finance conservative causes."

"The New York Times made small but significant changes to an exclusive report about a potential criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's State Department email account late Thursday night, but provided no notification of or explanation for of the changes," Dylan Byers reported for Politico on July 24.
"The paper initially reported that two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation 'into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state.'

That clause, which cast Clinton as the target of the potential criminal probe, was later changed: the inspectors general now were asking for an inquiry 'into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.'

The Times also changed the headline of the story, from 'Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email" to "Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,' reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton's possible role. The article's URL was also changed to reflect the new headline.

As of early Friday morning, the Times article contained no update, notification, clarification or correction regarding the changes made to the article.

One of the reporters of the story, Michael Schmidt, explained early Friday that the Clinton campaign had complained about the story to the Times.

'It was a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them,' Schmidt said.
"
As I reported in July, The New York Times article by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo originally published on July 23, 2015 was full of so many mistakes that it probably merits its own internal probe, but one of the corrections added afterwards seems to blame "senior government officials" for the paper's misreporting.

"An article and a headline in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state misstated the nature of the request, using information from senior government officials," a New York Times correction added to the article on July 25 stated, after the paper falsely reported the 2016 presidential candidate was facing a 'criminal referral' by two Inspectors Generals. "It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton."

A second New York Times correction to the same article on July 26 added, "An article in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state referred incorrectly, using information from senior government officials, to the request. It was a 'security referral,' pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information, officials said, not a 'criminal referral.'"

Michael S. Schimdt has also ignored multiple tweets I've sent him regarding an article he wrote for The New York Times in March, which I believe wrongly reported that the Clinton aide who set up the private server currently works for Teneo. On March 17, 2015 Amy Chozick tweeted that the New York Times "will look into this," after I told her that the article seemed to be wrong about Justin Cooper's current employment. Other media outlets seem to have followed the Times lead, and may be wrongly reporting that he is currently with Teneo. The article was never corrected, and Chozick has ignored all the tweets I've sent her since then (see ).

On October 6 I reported, Last week, apparently without fact-checking, some members of the media - including The New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal - seemingly repeated the bogus (see The Hill) Clinton campaign assertion that Benghazi was the longest House Committee probe ever. Salon Deputy Politics Editor Sophia Tesfaye - who is also a researcher for Media Matters For America (who have defended the Clintons for a long time, as I reported with RAW STORY in 2006: "Senator Clinton made personal phone calls to raise money for ‘nonpartisan’ defender, employees say"), according to her LinkedIn resume - went further and compared it to investigations such as the Hurricane Katrina, Warren Commission, and Iran-Contra probes, without noting that most consider those probes too short or cover-ups of scandals. Ms. Tesfaye ignored tweets I sent her asking about this, but she - at least - updated her Salon story, while the Rosenthal editorial at The New York Times remains uncorrected.

A correction was finally added to Rosenthal's column eight days after it was published, after I tweeted Anna North - who "writes on cultural topics for the editorial page and is the editor of [The New York Times' editorial page editor's] blog": "When you edited @andyrNYT column with bogus Benghazi probe claim, did you fact-check? Will you fix? @annanorthtweets http://ronbryn.blogspot.com/2015/10/democrats-spin-as-if-it-were-classified.html". However, I still think the correction should contain an explanation, especially since it appears to be based on a Clinton 2016 talking point.

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