It was a big week for Jessica Mendoza, who became the first woman to work a Major League Baseball broadcast for ESPN. And she did it twice.
On August 24, she filled in for Aaron Boone on the network's Cardinals-Diamondbacks game. Sunday night, she replaced suspended analyst Curt Schilling on Sunday Night Baseball's Dodgers-Cubs match-up. (According to ESPN, Schilling is set to return to the booth this coming Sunday.)
Unfortunately, Mendoza's groundbreaking broadcasts are still the rare exception. Women remain mostly on the outs when it comes to doing the actual play-by-play of sports.
"I just want to get to a point where it's like, 'oh she knows what she's talking about, he knows what he's talking about,' so it's not this huge deal," Mendoza told ThinkProgress last week. "On the other hand, I don't want it to be such a big deal because I want it to be the norm. How far are we right now from this being the norm?"
Apparently, pretty far.
While women are found on the sidelines and in the studio more than in the past, their place in the booth remains embarrassingly limited.
"It's mind-boggling," said Christine Brennan, who is the national sports columnist for USA Today and among the top sports scribes in the country. "I don't understand why the networks are thinking of not putting women in the booth. It's 2015, I don't understand it. Studies show the NFL audience is 40 percent women now."
Brennan broke her own barriers when she became the first Miami Herald female sports reporter in 1981, and later the first woman to cover the Washington Redskins in 1985 for The Washington Post.
"There has to be a first to have a second, or third. Why hasn't this happened before?" Brennan added. "I would hope that we are past the notion that if you did not play that specific game you cannot broadcast it. I always thought it's ridiculous in any sport."
Some strides have been made in sports, on and off the air, for women just this year. The Arizona Cardinals hired the first NFL female assistant coach, Jen Welter, last month, while the NBA's San Antonio Spurs summer league team was coached by one of its assistants, Becky Hammon, who led them to the league championship.
And two weeks before Jessica Mendoza called the ESPN games, Beth Mowins announced an Oakland Raiders pre-season NFL game. As the Associated Press points out, Mowins was actually the second woman to do play-by-play for an NFL game, following a nearly thirty-year gap after Gayle Sierens announced a game for NBC in 1987.
But female TV booth announcers and analysts in PGA Golf, NASCAR, NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball can be counted on one hand in most of those leagues, and never in their top championship events.
Tune in to Monday Night Football or the NBA Finals and the only women are usually the sideline reporters, often relegated to the quick few words during time-outs.
This limits the pool of competent, skilled, and well-spoken play-by-play announcers to just half of the population. And at a time when women have made strides in many other areas of sports journalism, the two-person or three-person broadcast booth crews should be the next natural step toward equality.
"The first thing they say is, 'how does she know about football?'" said Joan Ryan, who became the first full-time female sports columnist of a major daily newspaper when she joined the San Francisco Examiner in 1985. "But how does Bob Costas know about football? He didn't play it. How did Al Michaels know about football? Most political reporters haven't run for president or for any office and yet they cover politics. There's no question in my mind that it will change, but it will just take time."
Women in sports coverage have faced opposition going back decades, to the lawsuit filed against Major League Baseball by Sports Illustrated writer Melissa Ludtke after she was banned from the locker room during the 1977 World Series. A federal court ruling a year later forced the ban to be lifted.
"They have the women where they want them," Ludtke told Media Matters on Monday when asked about the TV booth barriers. "They have them on the sidelines, where they can dress them and talk to them in their ear."
She later added, "Until we get a place where hearing a woman's voice talking about what is predominantly male sports and believe that that voice holds authority it's going to be very difficult for them to find their way there."
The locker room case was met with the sexist claim that women just wanted to be in there to see and meet men. Others simply claimed the women who wanted key roles in TV sports journalism did not know enough about sports to cover them, even though they were already reporting on the biggest events for their news and sports outlets across the country.
The court order did a great deal to destroy those myths and prove that they were doing their jobs, the same as men. Women now cover teams in nearly every big city.
New York Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman and New Jersey Devils hockey announcer Sherry Ross hold top spots in the New York market, for example, but both are on radio, not television. For some reason, the most prestigious TV sports broadcasting remains male-dominated.
Women have earned acclaim and status in most other areas of broadcasting and news. Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, and Diane Sawyer have held the coveted network news anchor chairs, and women currently hold co-anchor spots on all three major network morning news programs, although they are absent as hosts from the networks' influential Sunday talk shows.
Women have reached the top editing posts at The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Associated Press, among other major news outlets over the years. The last two presidents of the White House Correspondents Association were women, as were about half of the Pulitzer Prize winners announced this year.
At ESPN, meanwhile, women have been anchoring the channel's flagship Sportscenter program at various times for years. It is really a non-issue in almost all other areas of sports broadcasting.
But game-time announcing is still something of a mancave.
Veteran female sports reporters say if you really want to serve the listening and viewing fan, be it a man or a woman, finding the best person for the job is still the best way.
And then, when Jessica Mendoza calls a Major League Baseball game on the nation's biggest sports network, it will not be a story at all.
"Wouldn't it be great if she became the Lou Gehrig of replacements," said Brennan, referring to the great New York Yankee who went on to set a record for consecutive Major League games played after he replaced the injured Wally Pipp. "She should be a full-time voice on ESPN broadcasts. I am hoping that we have reached a turning point."
Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos was ejected from an August 25 Iowa press conference being held by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after he began asking questions about Trump's immigration views. Spanish-language news media has condemned Trump's move and denounced it as an attack against Hispanics in the U.S.
When you hear of a media outlet peddling debunked and misleading research in order to argue against providing transgender people with important medical care, you probably don't think of The New York Times.
But that's exactly what happened in the August 23 Sunday edition of the paper. In an op-ed titled, "How Changeable Is Gender?" Richard Friedman, a Times contributing opinion writer and professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, grossly misrepresented empirical research in order to raise doubts about gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender people, including transgender youth.
The post was quickly debunked by Think Progress' Zack Ford and Vox's German Lopez, who criticized -- among other things -- Friedman's conflation of gender identity and gender expression, his misreading of empirical data, and his dismissal of evidence showing the benefits of gender-affirming treatment.
The errors in Friedman's research aren't minor -- his op-ed is based on a series of blatant oversights that undermine his conclusions. But as of Wednesday morning, The New York Times has failed to issue a correction or clarification to the op-ed. As Lopez noted, the New York Times' decision to publish "error-ridden articles like Friedman's" will likely make it harder for trans people to find supportive home and medical environments.
The Times declined to comment on criticism of Friedman's op-ed.
Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident for the Times, which has come under increased scrutiny in recent months for its willingness to publish misleading and harmful commentary about the transgender community.
In July, the Times published an op-ed titled "What Makes A Woman?" in response to Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover photo. The piece, written by journalist Elinor Burkett, was a trainwreck of harmful and offensive stereotypes about transgender women and essentially suggested that trans women haven't earned the right to be seen as 'real' women. The op-ed, which also framed trans equality as a threat to feminist politics, was condemned for peddling offensive and outdated tropes about transgender women.
Despite the criticism, the Times rejected a rebuttal column by Meredith Talusan, a transgender writer and advocate. Talusan self-published her response, writing, "I find the way The Times keeps centering white cisgender women's perspectives on Jenner deeply disturbing."
"[A]rguing for my existence feels par for the course this week as The New York Times has already sparked a situation where I and other trans women have been constantly put in the position of having to debate our humanity," she added.
And then there's the Times' bizarre defense of research suggesting that some transgender women are actually just men who are sexually aroused by the idea of being a woman, sometimes referred to as "autogynephilia."
In April, the Times published a glowing review of Galileo's Middle Finger, a book written by bioethicist Alice Dreger. Dreger is notorious for defending the widely disputed and controversial research of psychologist J. Michael Bailey, who helped popularize the idea that many trans women are actually men acting out sexual fetishes. But rather than lay out the criticisms of "autogynephilia" research, the Times' David Dobbs lauded Bailey and Dreger's work, describing them as truth-tellers facing down "enraged" transgender activists.
This notion enraged advocates who insisted that transsexuality came invariably from an unavoidable mind-body mismatch -- a mistake of nature -- and never from a variation in taste, which some might consider an indulgence. These advocates sought not only to refute Bailey but to ruin him. When Dreger defended him, they targeted her too.
In the end, as Dreger tells it, she and Bailey won a rough victory. When Dreger's book-length paper on the issue was written up warmly in The Times, formerly gun-shy allies were encouraged to speak out.
The Dreger fiasco reveals why the Times' missteps in transgender coverage are so potentially devastating: when the paper publishes something about the transgender community, people pay attention.
That's because, unlike the fringe right-wing media outlets that publish transphobic pseudoscience on a regular basis, the Times has a reputation for positive and affirming coverage of the transgender community. The paper has worked to avoid misgendering transgender news subjects, elevated the issue of violence against transgender women, published thoughtful editorials about the fight for transgender equality, and given transgender people an opportunity to tell and share their own stories. This week, a reader viewing Burkett's "What Makes A Woman?" on the paper's website likely saw an ad for a TimesTalk event featuring transgender actress Laverne Cox at the top of the page.
It's that juxtaposition -- positive transgender coverage alongside damaging and misleading commentary -- that troubles advocates for the transgender community. When The New York Times publishes content that suggests trans children shouldn't be affirmed, trans women aren't 'real' women, or trans people are secretly sexual fetishists, it has more of an impact than any extreme right-wing media outlet could hope to have. It lends the paper's tremendous credibility to discredited and problematic myths about trans people. Harmful content makes up a fraction of the Times' total transgender coverage, but it's that rarity that makes the misinformation so pernicious.
And, in the case of Friedman's most recent op-ed, it could end up doing real damage to the most vulnerable members of the transgender community.
Image at top via Flickr user Alec Perkins using a Creative Commons License.
Major media outlets are turning to former attorney general Michael Mukasey to launch smears against Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton without disclosing the fact that Mukasey is an adviser on Republican Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.
Expertos conservadores están aclamando el plan propuesto por el candidato presidencial republicano y gobernador de Wisconsin, Scott Walker, de derogar y sustituir la Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible (ACA por sus siglas en inglés), que abrumadoramente ayuda a los latinos. Mientras tanto, los medios de comunicación y expertos señalan que los altos costos de la propuesta de Walker afectarían desproporcionadamente a estadounidenses de bajos ingresos y aquellos con condiciones preexistentes.
Conservative pundits are hailing Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while mainstream media and experts are pointing out how the costly proposal would disproportionately harm low-income Americans and those with preexisting conditions.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd did him "a big favor" by featuring him in a recent column.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trump described Dowd as a "great person" who has "written a lot about me over the years." He added that Dowd "understands that I adore women."
Dowd featured Trump in her August 8 and August 15 columns, as well as an online article detailing the candidate's thoughts on a variety of topics, from Iraq to Bill Clinton.
On August 8, Dowd described Trump as "the gleefully offensive and immensely entertaining high-chair king in the Great American Food Fight." She also wrote, "I enjoy Trump's hyperbolic, un-P.C. flights because there are too few operatic characters in the world."
In her August 15 column, an interview with Trump, she wrote, "The billionaire braggart known for saying unfiltered things is trying to be diplomatic. Sort of."
Trump also gave The Hollywood Reporter his thoughts on other media figures.
Trump said he and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch "have been friendly," noting that "he had some very evil tweets, and now they've been nice lately."
Trump still apparently has issues with Megyn Kelly's debate question about his past sexist comments, noting, "I don't understand how [Fox News chairman and CEO] Roger [Ailes] could have allowed that first question to be asked."
He said Ailes "is certainly very impressed with my poll numbers" and that "when he looked at the ratings, what happened to the ratings at Fox, I think that makes him think about it even from a financial standpoint." Trump described his relationship with Ailes as "great," claiming he had lunch with him "three weeks ago."
Trump called Internet gossipmonger Matt Drudge a "legend" and "an amazing guy" who has "been so fair to me."
The media's frantic coverage of the ongoing controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton's secretary of state emails -- and whether some of them contained classified information -- regularly presents the allegations as being precise and unambiguous.
But are they?
The latest media uproar swirls around the fact that the inspectors general for the 17 spy agencies, which make up what's known as the U.S. Intelligence Community, disclosed that some emails which had been routed through a private server Clinton used during her tenure as secretary of state contained classified information, "including two emails whose content is now deemed to be 'Top Secret,'" according to McClatchy.
A key fact, via the Associated Press, is that, "Clinton didn't transmit the sensitive information herself, they said, and nothing in the emails she received makes direct reference to communications intercepts, confidential intelligence methods or any other form of sensitive sourcing."
To date, the straightforward media narrative goes like this: Because officials within the intelligence community have determined that Clinton received emails that contained classified information, that means Clinton was at fault and an investigation is underway to determine how she could have been so reckless and wrong. (The New York Times badly muddied the waters on the email story when it erroneously reported intelligence officials requested a criminal investigation into Clinton's handling of her emails. They did no such thing.)
But the story isn't that simple because the process of classifying information can be subjective and one not everyone inside the government agrees with. The process is especially open to second-guessing when it's being done after the fact; when intelligence community officials are looking back in time and deciding emails that Clinton received should have been marked classified even though they were not at the time.
"Classification decisions are matters of judgment, not calculation," Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists told Politico. "It is entirely possible for two senior officials to disagree about the need for classifying a particular item of information." In comments to The Hill he added, "There is so much classified information being generated and circulated, there are so many people with the authority to classify, inevitably there is friction and confusion in the system."
Matt Miller, former Department of Justice Director of Public Affairs, went further, recently insisting, "the entire classification system is a mess: overly complex, riddled with ambiguity, and used at times for inappropriate reasons. And because of that you get perverse outcomes."
Here's an example of why classifications can lead to debate. The Associated Press reported that one of the emails now identified as classified by the inspectors general centered on a U.S. drone operation [emphasis added]:
The drone exchange, the officials said, begins with a copy of a news article about the CIA drone program that targets terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere. While that program is technically top secret, it is well-known and often reported on. Former CIA director Leon Panetta and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, have openly discussed it.
The copy makes reference to classified information, and a Clinton adviser follows up by dancing around a top secret in a way that could possibly be inferred as confirmation, the officials said.
But as the AP itself added, "Several people, however, described this claim as tenuous."
The fact is there's a cultural divide between State and the intelligence agencies. As The Hill explained, "intelligence agencies tend to lean toward classification more than an agency like State would, several former employees on both sides agreed." The result? Clinton has "found herself caught in a murky dispute between State Department and intelligence officials over whether emails on her server were classified," reported McClatchy.
Added Jonathan Allen at Vox during the fiasco over the NY Times' botched "criminal" email story, "Ultimately -- at least for now -- this is a bureaucratic fight about how the State Department has handled the emails, not about Hillary Clinton."
That turf battle helps explain the current standoff. "John Kirby, a spokesman for the State Department, said it remained unclear 'whether, in fact, this material is actually classified,'" NBC News reported. And this from Politico: "State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday his agency remained unconvinced that any of Clinton's emails should have been considered classified when they were sent. 'To our knowledge, none of them needed to be classified at the time,' Toner told reporters at a daily briefing."
Last week Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, insisted it has yet to be determined "whether information in those emails should have been classified in the first place."
And note this fact: Senior State Department official Patrick Kennedy revealed that one of the emails the inspectors general deemed to be classified related to the Department of Defense, "but the Pentagon decided not to pursue it," according to Politico, suggesting perhaps that Defense officials did not share the assessment from the inspector general review.
So who's right? "Both sides can be correct," The Hill reported. "Not only is each side entitled to different standards of classification, but information can become classified almost retroactively, as situations and guidelines change over the years."
But that's certainly not how much of the frantic Clinton campaign coverage portrays the story.
Much of the press, and especially the political press, continues to misstate the story, emphasizing how it's all about how Clinton handled her emails on a private server while secretary of state. But much of the recent scandal-mongering actually revolves around the process by which Clinton's years-old emails are being released to the public. "It is about current bureaucratic processes, probably the biggest snooze-fest in all of journalism," wrote Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek during the Times mess last month.
Some background, via Vox [emphasis added]:
The State Department has been ordered by a federal judge to make public the 55,000 pages of emails Clinton turned over to the agency. So the State Department has Freedom of Information Act experts sifting through the documents to make sure that no information will be released that is either classified or sensitive (meaning not technically classified but also not covering material that the government doesn't want in the public domain).
This has caused a bureaucratic turf war between the department and the intelligence community, which believes at least one email that's already been released contains classified information and that hundreds of others in the full set may also have material that's not ready for public consumption.
As the New York Times' John Harwood noted on Twitter -- and he's been among the few journalists to do so -- the issue of whether classified info was in Clinton's emails "has nothing whatsoever" to do with Clinton's use of a private email server:
OVERLOOKED: both R & D Hill staff say legal issue re: classified info in HRC emails has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do w/use of private server 1/2-- John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 15, 2015
had HRC used non-classified http://t.co/QOREwvsvyT account & gotten those emails, same legal issue of info "spillage." It's not uncommon 2/2-- John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 15, 2015
Keep in mind that if former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who used private emails exclusively during his term, had turned over any of his emails to the State Department, they also would have been subject to a classification review. But unlike Clinton, Powell kept no records of his secretary of state emails and handed over none to the State Department.
The Beltway press seems adamant about simplifying the Clinton email story; about flattening it out so the ambiguities are ironed away. In truth, uncertainties about classifications remain at the heart of the email review controversy.
The New York Times claimed that Carly Fiorina has emerged as the Republican Party's "weapon against [the] 'War on Women' charge," ignoring how her policy positions are actually harmful to women.
Major U.S. newspapers ran front page stories about devastating California wildfires alongside reports on the Environmental Protection Agency's newly-finalized Clean Power Plan, President Obama's flagship policy to address climate change. Yet with only one exception, these newspapers' wildfire articles ignored the documented role that global warming has played in worsening wildfires.
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan agreed with concerns that the paper subjects Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to tougher scrutiny than other 2016 contenders, promising to evaluate the Times' future coverage of Clinton for its fairness.
Sullivan already strongly criticized the paper on July 27 for its now twice-corrected report that relied on anonymous sourcing to claim that two inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into Clinton's email use. In reality, the probe was not criminal and was not focused on Clinton personally. The faulty report, for which Sullivan condemned the Times' for running a "sensational" story with "major journalistic problems" before it was ready and for not being transparent with readers about revisions, is still facing heavy criticism from veteran journalists.
On August 1, Sullivan highlighted critiques from readers and media observers who expressed concern that the error-riddled Clinton email story reveals the Times' pattern of taking "an unfairly critical edge" against Clinton, and Sullivan agreed (emphasis added):
Arlene Williams, a longtime subscriber, wrote and objected to "what I see as jaded coverage concerning Hillary Clinton." News articles and opinion columns are "just consistently negative," she said. And Ben Lieberman of Acton, Mass., said The Times seemed to be "on a mission to cut her down to size."
These readers aren't alone. The press critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen wrote on Twitter: "I have resisted this conclusion over the years, but after today's events it's fair to say the Times has a problem covering Hillary Clinton." Rachel Maddow said last week on MSNBC that the attitude of the national press corps, including The Times, is, "Everything Hillary Clinton does is a scandal." And James Fallows of The Atlantic called what he sees as a Times "Clinton vendetta" a "serious lapse," linking to a letter the Clinton campaign wrote in response to the Times story.
Mr. Purdy and the executive editor, Dean Baquet, insist that this scrutiny is necessary and that it is being done fairly. Because Mrs. Clinton stirs such strong emotions, they say, there are bound to be unending complaints from both her supporters and detractors.
But I agree with this sentiment from a reader, Evan Hannay, who is troubled by some of the Clinton coverage: "Hillary deserves tough questions when they are warranted. But it is undeniable that she is already facing significantly tougher coverage than any other potential candidate." He thinks The Times should make "a promise to readers going forward that Hillary is not going to be treated unfairly as she so often is by the media."
Last Thursday, I handed Mr. Baquet a printed copy of Mr. Hannay's email and asked him to address it.
To that end, he told me that he has urged reporters and editors to focus anew on issues stories. And he pledged fairness. "I'm happy to make a promise that she'll be treated fairly," he said, though he added, "If you look at our body of work, I don't believe we have been unfair." One testament to that, he said, was an investigative piece written by David Kirkpatrick shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attacks, with conclusions seen as favorable for Mrs. Clinton, who was then secretary of state. It came under heavy attack from the right.
But the Times's "screw-up," as Mr. Baquet called it, reinforces the need for reporters and their editors to be "doubly vigilant and doubly cautious."
Times readers (and on their behalf, I, too) will be watching and evaluating that over the next months. No one should expect a free ride for Mrs. Clinton. But she certainly deserves a fair shake.
The New York Times' Maureen Dowd's latest tired attack on Hillary Clinton involves a lengthy comparison of the Democratic presidential candidate to disgraced New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Dowd spent nearly half of her August 1 column spearing Clinton with dubious pseudo-scandals and comparisons to quarterback Tom Brady, recently suspended from four NFL games for his role in the use of deflated footballs in January's AFC championship game. "It turns out Tom Brady and Hillary Clinton have more in common than you would think," Dowd claimed, calling the two "[a] pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win." She went on:
Brady had his assistant terminate his Samsung phone the day before he talked to an investigator about Deflategate. Hillary set up a home-brew private server, overruling the concerns of her husband's aides, and erased 30,000 emails before the government had a chance to review them to see if any were classified.
Brady and Hillary, wanting to win at all costs and believing the rules don't apply to them, are willing to take the hit of people not believing them, calculating that there is no absolute proof.
They both have a history of subterfuge -- Brady and the Patriots with Spygate, Hillary with all her disappearing and appearing records.
In stretching to link Clinton to Brady, Dowd echoes right-wing media pundits desperate to spin any news into an attack on the leading Democratic presidential candidate. Such attacks are old territory for Dowd. For more than 20 years, Dowd has been attempting to smear Clinton by any means necessary, even stooping to pushing sexist tropes and taunting nicknames. According to a Media Matters analysis of 195 of Dowd's columns written during her tenure at the Times, more than 70 percent painted Clinton in a negative light.
From the August 2 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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The New York Times' latest botched story on emails from former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shows why reporters shouldn't trust leaks from anonymous partisan sources, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote in an August 1 op-ed in The Huffington Post.
Cummings, the ranking minority member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, detailed how the Republican-led investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks "has been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack" Clinton. The Times' recent rush to rely on anonymous "Capitol Hill" sourcing falsely claiming Clinton was the target of a potential criminal investigation -- which resulted in the paper having to issue multiple corrections and answer questions about its credibility -- is only the most recent example of reporters failing to verify information from anonymous sources when it comes to Clinton:
Congressional investigations into the attacks in Benghazi have been plagued by a series of inaccurate, partisan leaks designed to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many of these attacks rely on anonymous sources to describe -- and often mischaracterize -- documents reporters have not seen.
Last week, the New York Times fell victim to this ploy, reporting that "[t]wo inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information."
I believe the Times' errors, like many before them, could have been avoided. I learned the truth on Thursday -- before the Times' story ran.
The Times' Executive Editor has suggested that its reporters could not have done anything differently because they relied on anonymous senior government officials, which the paper's Public Editor later explained included tips from "Capitol Hill."
I disagree. The Times could have insisted on seeing the documents they were describing. Or, if the Times spoke with Republicans in Congress, even off the record, they could have checked their facts with me or other Committee Democrats.
Unfortunately, this rush to print anonymous, unverified claims against Secretary Clinton is not unique.
Just last month, Politico was forced to correct a front-page story that relied on an anonymous source who apparently provided doctored information about an email that was produced to the Select Committee, rather than seeing the documents or contacting my office. Chairman Gowdy refused to investigate or condemn this leak.
Similarly, in May 2013, an anonymous source provided a description of an email from NSC staffer Ben Rhodes that misrepresented statements he made about the Benghazi talking points. CNN ultimately reviewed the email and reported that the information had been "seemingly invented" by the source.
Reporters have an obligation to ask why these sources demand to remain anonymous while refusing to provide copies of the documents they are peddling. No scoop should be too good to verify.
But the core problem is that these anonymous sources have an agenda, which is to manufacture facts to attack Secretary Clinton.
From the July 31 edition of Fox News' Happening Now: