I sent this letter to Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the New York Times. I will post his response if I receive one. If you’ve contacted Hoyt after my Saturday post, let me know in comments or via e-mail if Mr. Hoyt has gotten back to you.
Dear Mr. Hoyt,
Mitt Romney’s "Faith In America" speech in Texas last week has been negligently reported by the Times. Beginning with the preview article on December 3 by Michael Luo and Michael Cooper, through two additional articles by Mr. Luo, including one that was featured on the front page — as well as several prominent editorials — Mr. Romney’s controversial comments about excluding Muslims in his cabinet have been alarmingly omitted. Given that the speech was supposed to be about, as Luo and Cooper put it, America’s "grand tradition of religious tolerance," it is most problematic that Romney’s intolerant remarks went unmentioned.
Worse, there seems to be no good reason for this omission. I wrote Mr. Luo after the initial article appeared in the paper, inquiring why he’d left out Romney’s anti-Muslim comments. Somewhat incredibly, he replied that he had insufficient space and time to mention it. After his second and third articles were published, I again brought the issue to Luo’s attention. And again, Luo offered the same poor excuses: that his deadlines and space limitations prevented him from doing his job.
But what I found even more alarming was the glibness with which Luo treated Romney’s remarks, referring to his comments as "the Muslim thing" and suggesting that because other media failed to mention them, that somehow makes the Times’ omission acceptable.
The facts are these. The Christian Science Monitor reported that Romney said he would exclude Muslims from his cabinet. The Romney campaign initially didn’t deny the remarks. Additional witnesses then went on the record, confirming that Romney had made similar remarks on a number of different occasions.
It’s truly baffling that the Times gave Romney’s speech such extensive coverage without even a passing mention of these remarks, remarks which are inherently at odds with the theme of Romney’s speech. But it’s unimaginable that the reasons given for this dereliction of the paper’s journalistic responsibilities is a lack of resources.
I urge you to correct the record on this matter as soon as possible.