Friday, November 26, 2004

New York Times silent on Ohio, NO follow up to single paragraph that ran yesterday

Yesterday, a national briefing on the midwest contains a whopping paragraph on an Ohio judge's ruling on the prospect of a state wide recount (see blog entry "Worthy Front Page Coverage for the Times on Thanksgiving Day"), today not a word. Daniel Okrent (Times' public editor) may feel that when the Times has 'concrete' information, they'll address the story but thus far that's not the case. If they're planning on addressing the story in tomorrow's print edition, they've yet to post such a story online.

Okrent wrote on the issue of Ohio's voting in this election:

And more, I expect, will be explored and explained in future articles if meaningful allegations can indeed be established as facts. Both Matthew Purdy, the head of The Times’s investigative unit, and Rick Berke, the paper’s Washington editor, assure me that reporters will continue to look into the issue. I’m confident that if they find something, they’ll publish it. A good investigative reporter (much less a whole staff of them) turning away from a story like this one — if true — would be like a flower turning away from the sun. Careers are made by stories that detail massive election fraud.

More will be explored when? Careers will be made when? A judge ruled a statewide recount, denying "a bid" by the "Libertarian and Green Parties." Whether the Times staff has evidence of any voting irregularities (and if they don't, here's a news tip: check with your editorial board who wrote a strong editorial on this issue), they now have a court ruling to report on and thus far they've ignored it. A paragraph on a judge's ruling re: a statewide recount that could effect the electoral college vote for the presidency of the United States doesn't strike this Times reader as appropriate coverage. Unlike Okrent, I'm not "confident" that the Times will "continue to look into this issue" based on the reporting thus far.

That's it for my Times comments today because I think this was a gross failure and that it refutes the stated beliefs of Okrent in his weblog.

If you'd like to ask Okrent if he still maintains his optimistic outlook, you can e-mail him at and feel free to ask executive editor Bill Keller ( if the next editions of the Times will cover the judge's ruling of if that single paragraph is "all the news that's fit to print"
as Paul R. Lehto wondered in his Buzzflash Reader Contribution ( entitled "New York Times: 'All the News that's Fit to Print' or 'All the News that's Already Proven'?"

You might also want to ask either or both what purpose the paragraph served since until that one paragraph, the Times has been silent on the Ohio recount efforts. A reader who depended on the Times for his/her information might find the paragraph puzzling -- "A judge ruled on an Ohio recount? I haven't heard about that? What's going on?" A real story dealing with the judge's ruling could have explained what a paragraph, due to space limitations, couldn't.