The New York Times dug in its heels to defend its inadequate reporting that insinuated that Hillary Clinton broke the law by maintaining a non-government email account as secretary of state, rejecting a call from David Brock, founder and chairman of Media Matters, to issue a correction.
In its response refusing to publicly correct the serious shortcomings in its initial reporting, the Times actually underscored how its initial report was not properly vetted prior to publication.
Brock issued a public letter to the Times on Tuesday requesting a “prominent correction as soon as possible” after reporter Michael Schmidt published an article suggesting Clinton violated federal law by using a non-government email address while serving as secretary of state. Brock wrote:
The Schmidt article failed to meet the highest journalistic standards that readers expect of The New York Times. Since it was published, the Times has been leaning on other reporters to vet the story after the fact. Our hope is that after reviewing the situation, the Times will do the right thing and correct this sloppy, innuendo-laden report in a prominent place.
In an email to Media Matters, a Times representative said they “stand by the story” and directed Media Matters to a 2009 rule from the National Archives and Records Administration that they claim was violated by Clinton's use of a non-government email. The Times representative did not explain why that information was not included in its initial report, an after-the-fact claim that only further illustrates that the initial reporting was so sloppy.
And, as The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, Clinton has provided 55,000 pages of her emails to the State Department, in compliance with the 2009 regulatory change and a 2014 law that was passed after Clinton had left the administration.
Nor does the Times response address the fact that Jason Baron, the former head of litigation at the National Archives and Records Association and the key source quoted by The New York Times, has said that Secretary Clinton did not “violate” the law.
No authoritative legal expert has identified any violation of the law with her use of personal email. In contrast, The National Law Journal reported that “lawyers say it's unlikely she did anything illegal.”