NYT Public Editor: Yes, the Paper’s Been ‘Somewhat Late’ in Covering the IRS

On Friday, Margaret Sullivan, public editor of the New York Times, responded to criticism from readers regarding the newspaper’s lack of coverage of the IRS scandal.

In an blog post entitled “Is The Times Ignoring a Scandal at the I.R.S.?“ she noted that many readers have complained that coverage of the story was inadequate. She quoted an e-mail from one reader, Harry Koenig of New Jersey, who noted that the only coverage of the investigation was on Page 19. “Hey, it could have been in the Food or Fashion section,” he wrote. Koenig noted Mark Halperin’s comment that the scandal would be a test for the news media, and said that the paper had “failed the test.”

Washington-based reporter David Joachim, who wrote many of the IRS stories for the Times, wrote in an e-mail to Sullivan that the Times has published five articles on the developments since the IRS announced on June 13 that Lois Lerner’s hard drive had crashed. “None of those landed on the front page of the print newspaper,” he said, “but every one of them was promoted heavily over social media and spent a long time on our home page, which is prime real estate.”

Sullivan acknowledged that the Times was “somewhat late” in covering the developments regarding Lois Lerner’s lost e-mails, and that the paper had had a “quiet display” of the stories. She asserted, though, that it has provided “insightful coverage of a situation heavily clouded by partisan politics.”


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