The New York Times “underplayed” its reporting on E. Jean Carroll’s allegations of sexual assault against Pres. Donald Trump, the Times admitted. (Trump denies her allegation that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.)
In a June 24 post in its Reader Center, the Times reported that “some readers accused the Times of downplaying the story” by not putting it on its home page until June 22.
New York Magazine’s The Cut explained the controversy: “The Times in particular faced an onslaught of criticism — for omitting the story from its home page, waiting two days to run a piece in print about the allegations, and publishing the story in its “Books” section.”
The Times declined to comment to iMediaEthics beyond its reader center post.
In response, executive editor Dean Baquet told the Times for its Reader Center report that “We were overly cautious” and suggested it was because the Times didn’t break the story but was reacting to the Carroll’s book excerpt in New York Magazine.
The Times‘ Reader Center post explained:
“In The Times’s reporting on the [Harvey] Weinstein and [Bill] O’Reilly cases, editors developed an informal set of guidelines for when The Times would publish such allegations. Those guidelines include locating sources outside those mentioned by the accusers who not only corroborate the allegations but also are willing to go on the record.”
In this case, the Times said it spoke to Carroll and the two friends Carroll “cited in her book” to confirm her allegations, but didn’t find any others who were “independent.”
Hat Tip: Erin McCann