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I Should Say So!

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Judy Miller 409

The Public Editor calls for systematic change in the light of the second massive botch job from Apuzzo and Schmidt:

She’s right. Erik Wemple of The Washington Post, who wrote early and often on this all week, noted that the story “set fire to the news system. All sorts of follow-up reports surfaced. And straight into the political arena it went.” It wasn’t long, he added, before Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was using it to bash Democrats. And there’s been a lot of commentary: Esquire saw “source pollution” as the problem; Mother Jones wrote that two of the reporters should be “considered on probation” (not dismissed, as an earlier version of this post said); and Salon called it “an epic reporting fail” with dire national consequences.

I have two major and rather simple questions: How did this happen? And how can The Times guard against its happening again? (As many readers have noted, some very critically, two of the authors of this article, Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt, also wrote the flawed story in July that reported that Hillary Clinton would be the target of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department because of her email practices while secretary of state. Reporting by the third reporter on the current article, Julia Preston, who covers immigration, was restricted to the visa-vetting process.)

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