• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • New York Times Story on Rep. Issa Riddled With Factual Errors

    A lengthy article in today’s New York Times about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) contains at least five major factual errors, including one that the undermines the central premise of the story, the congressman’s office asserted in a high-profile showdown with the Grey Lady.

    The newspaper already admitted to one mistake in the 2,700-word story, but reporter Eric Lichtblau said he would not correct other factual errors pointed out by Issa’s staff. Now, the central assertion of Lichtblau’s story — that Issa directed federal funds to increase the value of property he owns — appears to be crumbling as well.

    Lichtblau’s story is the latest critique of the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa is growing accustomed to the attention given his role on Capitol Hill. He’s become one of the left’s top targets and even the subject of a nonprofit organization run by liberal political activists out to tarnish his reputation.

    Issa’s office quickly dismissed today’s story as “riddled with factual errors and careless assertions that has resulted in a story predicated on innuendo and not fact.”

    The story’s headline, “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself,” suggests that Issa benefited personally from steering federal funds to a road project near a medical complex he owns. Lichtblau reported the value of Issa’s property increased 60 percent after he bought it. But the reporter’s information is inaccurate, Issa’s office said. According to the settlement statement posted on the committee’s webstite, Issa paid $16.6 million — a figure that’s nearly identical to its current San Diego County property assessment.

    In addition to this questionable assertion, Issa’s office earlier in the day requested the Times correct three other factual errors in Lichtblau’s story. Issa’s release stated:

    • The story states, “Here on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego, Darrell Issa, the entrepreneur, oversees the hub of a growing financial empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars.” This is factually incorrect. The office building located at 1800 Thibodo Rd. in Vista does not overlook a golf course.
    • The story states, “Mr. Issa has … spilt a holding company into separate multibillion-dollar businesses …” This is factually incorrect. Rep. Issa does not own a single “multibillion-dollar business.”
    • The story states, “Mr. Issa brushed aside suggestions that his electronics company’s role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota made him go easy on the automaker as he led an investigation into the recalls.” This is factually incorrect. Rep. Issa’s former company, Directed Electronics, is not a “major supplier” or even a supplier to Toyota.

    As of now, the Times has only corrected the second error. When I asked Lichtblau if he planned to do anything about the other two, he responded, “No, because both points were correct.”

    As for the first point, Issa’s office building is located about a half-mile from the Shadowridge Country Club, according to Google Maps. However, the office building is surrounded by three housing developments and a state highway. There’s no direct access from Issa’s building to the course and it would take approximately 20 minutes to walk there.

    Issa’s office also maintains that Directed Electronics is not a supplier to Toyota, contrary to Lichtblau’s story. The reporter does not include a source for this information in the article and he did not respond to a follow-up email seeking clarification.

    Those aren’t the only problems with the story. Lichtblau also makes a false claim about the Issa Family Foundation, according to Issa’s office, asserting that it “earned $357,000 on an initial investment of less that $19,000 — a return of nearly 1,900 percent in just seven months.” In fact, Issa’s office responded, the foundation took a loss of $125,000. The foundation’s initial investment was not $19,000 but $500,000. Lichtblau apparently relied on an incorrect form to get the information.

    And if that wasn’t enough, there are also rumblings that Lichtblau didn’t properly attribute parts of his story. Lee Fang of the liberal Center for American Progress called him out on Twitter, noting “your NYT Issa piece looks awfully familiar.” Both the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and San Diego Beat also previously attacked Issa on some of the same points included in Lichtblau’s article.

    UPDATE: The Issa Family Foundation has donated to Heritage in the past.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to New York Times Story on Rep. Issa Riddled With Factual Errors

    1. DaForce says:

      Typical of the NYT and its biased reporting. Perhaps a lawsuit filed by Representative Issa for libel or defamation would send a message not only to Mr. Lichtbeau but also the New York Times that freedom of the press has restrictions.

    2. JOHN C TITHOF says:

      NY TIMES SHOULD JUST CLOSE THE DOORS IF THEY CANNOT GET STORIES STRAIGHT. SO MANY THINGS TO REPORT THAT ARE TRUE.

    3. Bobbie says:

      these misleading claims against Issa in retaliation for Issa addressing a legitimate concern of government conduct effecting America, is interesting to note more failed journalism and government! more total incompetence to show concern of irrelevance when Issa's address is a great fault of conduct effecting this country as a whole.

      Thank you for standing for decency and respecting us enough to be truthful, Mr. Issa. As most media, (some of us are well aware) including that of New York times that do not have truth in their best interest, therefore they do not have our interest! God Bless you, Mr. Issa. We know strength is on your side!!

    4. Isaac says:

      Instead of directing his tax payer paid congressional staff to distract attention with petty bickering he ought to do the decent thing and separate himself from his business holdings while in office. Complaining about 'job crushing taxes' while raking in profit from same, typical.

      • Chuck says:

        Isaac, we're talking about the lies printed about Mr. Issa, NOT anything Mr. Issa "ought" to do, which is none of your business. How about staying on the topic, instead of trying to draw attention from it, as the Left is so fond of doing. Mr. Issa is doing a great job, which you're obviously unable to appreciate.

    5. twister says:

      Yes – from the 3rd floor of Issa's office you most certainly can see the Shadowridge Golf Course and the multi-million dollar homes that abut it.

    6. Wise Old Owl says:

      If a reporter is going to plagiarize an article, as appears to possibly have been the case here, wouldn’t it make sense to at least plagiarize one that is factually correct? The New York Times would need a complete overhaul of personnel top to bottom to have any chance of being relevant again.

    7. fredstone says:

      NY Times = Continual Lies against anyone/everyone that they oppose politically. Stop subscribing to the NY Times as 1000's before you have done. Contact advertisers – let them know you will not support their business's.

    8. snydrhrry says:

      I cannot, of course, verify the facts cited, but Ann Coulter's book "Treason" has almost half a page of items the NYT was on the wrong side of. The Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss are just two of those issues.

    9. Lloyd Scallan says:

      This is the "New York Times"! Would you expect anyting but a gunt for a pig (and I do mean PIG). These are not "major factual errors. These are outright lies! Why does the authors of HF insist on using a pillow
      in a gun fight? Why do you not call it for what it is. We are in a fight for the survival of our nation, yet you appear to be afraid to use terms that would convey the true facts about how the main stream media is
      protecting the radical left socialist movement that threatings to destroy our way of life.

    10. Bruce in Iloilo says:

      "Overlook a golf course" does not mean that one "can see a golf course in the distance," neither of which are true It means to be next to it, above it, as if one is monitoring it. If I can see the Empire State Building from a home in New Jersey, am I "overlooking" it? Does the Lincoln Memorial "overlook" the US Capitol? No. "Overlook" is wrong. It's incorrect. It is bias plain and simple.

      Merriam-Webster says:

      2a : to look down upon from above
      b : to rise above or afford a view of

      Dictionary.com:

      3. to look over, as from a higher position: a balcony that overlooks the ballroom.
      4. to afford a view over; look down or out upon: a hill overlooking the sea.

    11. @CREWcrew says:

      Somehow CREW got dragged into this one. We set the record straight: http://www.citizensforethics.org/blog/entry/setti

    12. patrick butler says:

      You should read the NY Times response to Congressman Issa request for a full-page retraction. The facts are pretty damning against Mr. Issa.

      http://thinkprogress.org/media/2011/08/28/306090/

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×