The New York Daily News has finally released the results of its review of the work by Kevin Deutsch, the former staff crime reporter who worked at the newspaper for more than two years. Newsday, another of Deutsch’s former employers, revealed in July that the identity of 109 of his sources from stories between 2012 and 2016 could not be identified, and the New York Times reported in February that two of his sources could not be verified in a freelance piece he wrote for the newspaper. After iMediaEthics contacted Newsweek and the Daily News, both outlets told us they would review his work. iMediaEthics still awaits Newsweek‘s review.
Arthur Browne, the executive editor for the Daily News, told iMediaEthics in a statement today that the newspaper’s review found “no red flags,” but added the caveat that the Daily News couldn’t “comprehensively” confirm “every fact and source.” Why? Because it has been “five to seven years” and “many” of his stories carried shared bylines, making it impossible to confirm.
iMediaEthics has been reporting on Deutsch since February, when the New York Times added its editor’s note. iMediaEthics’ own review of 40 of Deutsch’s news stories, using public records databases and contacting affiliations he listed in articles , found 14 missing sources in 10 stories for four outlets, Newsday, New York Daily News, Newsweek and the New York Times.
iMediaEthics contacted Deutsch for his response to the review’s results, but hasn’t heard back. Deutsch stopped responding to iMediaEthics in March, save a mystery silent May 7 phone call to iMediaEthics’ office with the caller ID carrying Deutsch’s rela name, Kevin Shulman.
Browne’s full statement to iMediaEthics:
“From September, 2009 through March, 2012, Kevin Deutsch had 688 bylines in the Daily News. In a highly competitive media environment, the stories raised no red flags about possible fabrications. Two factors have ruled out comprehensively documenting every fact and source attributable to Deutsch. First, the passage of five to seven years heightens the difficulty of locating individuals who were identified only by name in the tumult of New York and who were peripheral to the main thrust of a piece – for example, witnesses at breaking news events. Second, many of the stories carried multiple bylines. Five to seven years later, after significant staff turnover, determining what reporter contributed what quote or factual material to each story would be prohibitively time consuming if not impossible.”
iMediaEthics reviewed one of Deutsch’s New York Daily News stories earlier this year and was unable to confirm the identity of two sources, Joel Gutierrez and Ronaldo Simms, quoted as taunting a former police officer, Eddy Coello. iMediaEthics has specifically asked Browne if the Daily News was able to confirm their identities, or if they are two “peripheral” sources the newspaper couldn’t verify.
Gutierrez and Simms were, according to Deutsch’s March 2011 story, “jailbirds” who told Deutsch, and no other reporter, that they heckled Coello when he went through Bronx Central Booking. The NYPD, which is in charge of central booking, told iMediaEthics that “no Joel Gutierrez or Ronaldo Simms [were] arrested in March of 2011.” NYPD also said it had no emails from Deutsch about Gutierrez, Simms or Coello that month, which indicates Deutsch likely never fact checked with the NYPD (NYPD typically uses e-mail for media inquiries).
From our story:
iMediaEthics asked Deutsch where he met the men, if the men offered their stories unsolicited or if he found them and requested an interview, how he fact checked their identities given there is no record of him filing a media request with NYPD, why he described them as jailbirds given Central Booking is not a jail. We also asked if he had reason to doubt that the two perps were not only somehow able to recognize who the bad cop being booked was, but also allowed to verbally harass the former NYPD member in front of other men and women in blue, and then be willing to brag about it to Deutsch, a Daily News crime reporter, when it could potentially impact their own cases. Deutsch did not respond.
Meanwhile, also today, Deutsch published an article on the Huffington Post about the porn star featured in a video that Sen. Ted Cruz liked on Twitter. iMediaEthics contacted the Huffington Post earlier this year, when Deutsch published his first article, to ask if the HuffPost was aware of the investigations into Deutsch or that he had previously published his article on addiction website The Fix (which unpublished it after iMediaEthics asked about its anonymous source). The HuffPost said it wasn’t aware of either, and noted that Deutsch was self-publishing on HuffPost’s contributor platform.
Today, after Deutsch published his second post, iMediaEthics again wrote to the HuffPost, this time to ask if it was aware of the results of Newsday’s investigation into Deutsch or if it will review his posts before publication.
This post is being updated as this is a breaking news story.