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  • New York Times Corrects Two, but Not All, Errors from Issa Story

    On Friday, the New York Times appended this correction to its front page article on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA):

    An article on Aug. 15 about Representative Darrell Issa’s business dealings, using erroneous information that Mr. Issa’s family foundation filed with the Internal Revenue Service, referred incorrectly to his sale of an AIM mutual fund in 2008. A spokesman for the California Republican now says that the I.R.S. filing is “an incorrect document.” The spokesman, Frederick R. Hill, said that based on Mr. Issa’s private brokerage account records, which he made public with redactions, the purchase of the mutual fund resulted in a $125,000 loss, not a $357,000 gain.

    And the article, using incorrect information from the San Diego county assessor’s office, misstated the purchase price for a medical office plaza Mr. Issa’s company bought in Vista, Calif., in 2008. It cost $16.3 million, the assessor’s office now says — not $10.3 million — because the assessor mistakenly omitted in public records a $6 million loan Mr. Issa’s company assumed in the acquisition. Therefore the value of the property remained essentially unchanged, and did not rise 60 percent after Mr. Issa secured federal funding to widen a road alongside the plaza.

    While it is laudable that the Times corrected these two very serious errors, the first sentence of the article remains factually inaccurate, and the Times seems determined to avoid correcting that inaccuracy.

    The story begins: “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.”

    The congressman immediately and repeatedly denied that the office overlooks a golf course. Pictures and video provided to the Heritage Foundation by Issa’s staff offer detailed views of the office and from the building’s exterior. Both undercut the Times’s statement.

    “None of the offices located within the Vista Corporate Center at 1800 Thibodo Road, including the office of Congressman Darrell Issa on the third floor, have a view of any golf course whatsoever,” the building’s owner stated. “Any reports to the contrary are in error.” Two local newspapers, the North County Times and the San Diego Union Tribune, have both written that Issa’s office does not, in fact, have a view of the golf course.

    The apparent error in the Times’s story has led Issa’s office to question whether the Times has “a Jayson Blair/Rick Bragg problem.” A memo from the Congressman’s office stated, “The extent and nature of errors in the New York Times story, raise a central question: Did New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau fabricate some of his reporting?”

    *****UPDATE (12:39)

    The Times’s Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet and Issa’s Communications Director Frederick Hill exchanged jabs in a pair of letters today. See Baquet’s defense of his paper’s reporting here, and Hill’s retort here (via Keach Hagey).

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to New York Times Corrects Two, but Not All, Errors from Issa Story

    1. Bobbie says:

      new york times had the respect to report the unbias truth with personal opinion to open the readers mind not influence a false perception. they're better paid today but SPIN the truth to defame a person of principle as new york times lowers themselves in opposition of principle who's efforts distort it's term to their readers.

      Must be the new 21st century progressive sub quality, deceptive news reporting new york times requires, allowing the slander but won't admit their mistakes to correct thoroughly and with dignity. Unprincipled of course!! Obviously not thinking of any future readers. So much advancement?

    2. jrg says:

      Although the property apparently does not have such views, it is reasonable that someone would suspect that they might: http://www.cityofvista.com/business/documents/Jul

    3. seth says:

      But isn't it Issa who supplied the erroneous information that is filed in the Public Records from which the journalists errors arise from?

      He is a criminal.

    4. seth says:

      #1) Issa Claim: “Directed Electronics is, in fact, not a supplier to Toyota.”
      NYT Response: Issa not only calls himself an “auto supplier” to Toyota on multiple occasions, but his Directed Electronics company has licensing agreements with Toyota for aftermarket parts including car alarms, an iPod adapter, and a remote start interface. The Times then lists Issa’s continued financial ties to the company he once led as an executive.
      #2) Issa Claim: A golf course is not visible from one of Issa’s corporate office towers.
      NYT Response: The office building overlooks the Shadowridge County Club only a quarter a mile away, and Issa’s realty agency for the building advertises “direct views to golf driving range.”
      #3) Issa Claim: “Rep. Issa does not have investments dependent on Goldman Sachss (sic) performance.”
      NYT Response: “Your interest in Goldman’s performance is borne out by, among other factors, your extensive holdings in its mutual funds, your investigation into the lawsuit brought against the firm by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2008, and the concerns raised in your July 2011 letter about the impact on Goldman of capital requirements. As was noted in a follow-up column by one of our news columnists, Floyd Norris, Goldman Sachs also underwrote DEl’s initial I.P.O., another indication of the ties between you and the firm.” (ThinkProgress has also reported on Issa’s extensive ties to Goldman Sachs here, here, and here.)
      #4) Issa Claim: The discussion of earmarks on West Vista Way “fails to mention that at the time he sought funding for his district he did not own this property.”
      NYT Response: As the story noted, you secured two earmarks for the road, before and after you bought the property. (ThinkProgress debunked Issa’s claim about his earmark in April, but Issa continued to try to deceive the press.)

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