Last night, the New York Times reported on Iowa Congressman Steve King’s attempt to block the Obama administration from changing the face of the $20 bill from Andrew Jackson to the black abolitionist Harriet Tubman. At first glance, the piece reads as straightforward, workaday journalism. On closer inspection, however, it reveals a few of the paper of record’s most entrenched pathologies.
The article conceals the fact that the Times was among the last to report on King’s efforts, which he packaged in a proposed amendment to a yearly budget bill for the U.S. Treasury. The outlet that broke the story was The Huffington Post. Most other outlets—CNN, New York magazine, the Des Moines Register,The Blaze, and so on—credited HuffPost for the scoop, but the Times did not. As the past two public editors for the paper have observed, Times staffers systemically omit credit when they’re beaten on a story.
Reporters who do not succeed
in filing their stories with speed
can cover their tail
for being so stale
by claiming they have to proofread.