Journalistic Malpractice?

It’s an amazing story about how stories are killed by major newspapers, a liberal agenda and yes journalistic malpractice. Powerlineblog has taken the lead in the blogosphere on this story along with Bill O’Reilly and we offer you both.

The story concerns a NYT investigation into ACORN that was apparently close to drawing a link between the Obama campaign and ACORN fundraising. The Times reporter Stephanie Strom had a source that was willing to provide records that established that link. But as Bill O’Reilly pointed out before and again last night … the Times spiked the story. Here’s the voicemail NYT reporter Strom left with ACORN source.


Sunday NYT Public Editor Clark Hoyt concluded his investigation and decided there was nothing to the story. That it was killed for good reason. Powerlineblog picks it up.


A key part of Moncrief’s story was that the Obama campaign had furnished ACORN with lists of maxed-out donors so that ACORN could mine them for contributions. In fact, Moncrief provided the Times reporter, Strom, with such a list that ACORN allegedly obtained from the Obama campaign. Hoyt does not dispute that this story, if true, was evidence of violation of the campaign finance laws.

So why did the Times pull the plug on Strom’s ongoing investigation? The story became public because a Republican lawyer named Heather Heidelbaugh testified, apparently based on information she got from Anita Moncrief, that the Times had been working on an Obama-ACORN story but that “Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, ‘it was a game-changer.'” Hoyt undertakes to show that this charge was false.


Powerline has since been in contact with Ms Moncrief and is promising a follow up to this story … the follow up the NY Times never did. I will keep you all up to date.

6 replies
  1. Brian Partridge
    Brian Partridge says:

    I was told once that whenever there was a question mark at the end of a title (tease, for TV), the answer was almost always negative.  

    "Miss California to lose her crown?"  No.

    "Obama birth certificate conspiracy?"  Nope, sorry.

    "You Decide: Ready for a smaller, pricier car?"  Clearly not.  (Actually that one is real, right now on  And it's a poll.  What a great question, I'm sure it'll spark debate between both sides: the "I like my big big, cheap cars" and the other side, which… is basically no one.  I can't hear anyone say "Hells yeah, bring on that dinky expensive car!" has the same question, but (in my opinion) phrased as a less leading question: "Are you willing to pay more for a fuel-efficient vehicle?"  Makes more sense, because of what it means to the debate.  FoxNews wants to drill home that cars will be smaller and more expensive, but doesn't mention anything about their effect on our dependency to foreign oil. 

    Ironically, the other question on right now is a real question.  It's not about something that's already happened, because it still remains unknown.  "Missing Link?", talking about a fossil of a 47-million-year-old monkey fossil.  They're not claiming to being able to answer the question, it's an honest, open-ended query.

    So, "Journalistic Malpractice?"  Well, either you don't know and you're posing the question to the community, or you know and the answer is no.  Otherwise, let's drop the question mark and be more firm in our knowledge as we deliver information to the audience.

  2. Steve McGough
    Steve McGough says:

    I'm not a big fan of punctuation in headlines myself, but I think a commentary blog's standards should be considered different than an official news organization like FoxNews, MSNBC and others. I've always said this site is not a news site, but a commentary site.

    Therefore – as example – our polls are pretty loose and certainly not scientific. One thing that I will admit to is (trying to) tweak my headlines to improve search results.

    Remember when the word commentary would be prominent at the end of a newscast? Maybe we need that word plastered all during news casts these days? 😉

  3. Darlene
    Darlene says:

    Tell me you are kidding Brian, please.  You spent an all that time arguing whether there should be a question mark in the title?  (answer – Yes)  Did you actually believe that would cause the readers to disregard the question?  (answer – Yes).  Well, it seems your "rule of thumb" doesn't always work, now does it?  (eh em, it works there, answer – No). 

    Oh, and by the way, my answer to the question … Journalistic Malpractice? … is  Yes, i do believe it is. 

  4. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Perhaps Mr. Partridge should review the facts and answer the question instead of crying "Bush dunnit!"  Ooops!  I mean "Fox dunnit!"   Did the NYTimes do this or not, and is it an example of journalistic malpractice, political bias, and omission as a lie?

    And "dependency on foreign oil" and "dependency on oil" are two different things with two different answers.  Yes, there is overlap, but don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining (see "antropocentric global warming" and "undocumented workers, i.e. illegal aliens."

  5. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    The funny thing is, the leftward biased media was responsible for the creation of Fox News.  If the media was as objective as some on this site suppose, there would have been no need for Fox.  I suppose, by extension, you could say the same of talk radio, and the popularity of both is testament to both the conservative nature of the American people and the liberal bent of the mainstream media.

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