As Eric Boehlert points out, it should not be surprising to anyone that when Clark Hoyt, public editor of the New York Times, responds to the paper’s horrendous reporting on Dick Blumenthal’s military record that he would defend the paper and excuse admitted mistakes. I don’t know Hoyt’s politics or why it is that he has shown a great willingness to be responsive to Republican criticisms of the paper while simultaneously explaining away anything critique Democrats raise. But when I wrote him last week, I knew that the odds of him actually doing his job and policing his paper’s journalism were slim to none.
Matt Gertz also takes apart Hoyt’s defense and finds more inconsistencies and holes in the piece. At the end of the day, the point of the Times’ original reporting was that Blumenthal had a “long and well established pattern of misleading his constituents about his Vietnam War service.” But everything that we have seen since the story was printed is that this is not, in fact, true. Hoyt has done nothing to reconcile his paper’s reporting with the work done over the last week by the Connecticut press that flatly undercuts the Times’ central thesis. Quite simply, there is no long-standing pattern, no systemic misleading, and not permanent public falsification of his record. Blumenthal has now apologized for the times when he misspoke, which is certainly the right step to take for the few instances when he did so, but the real apology should be coming from the Times for their inaccurate smear of Mr. Blumenthal, a military veteran and man who has served the American public for most of his life.