NY Times got it wrong in latest story about Pruitt—–and apologizes

Red faces at the Old Gray Lady.  The New York Times had to make a major correction in a story that attacked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and falsely accused him of using his influence to get his daughter into the University of Virginia law school.

Then over the weekend, the paper admitted it was wrong and issued a major correction that made news in itself. The paper went on to state that a letter written by Pruitt to the law school had been written ‘before’ he became administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“An earlier version of this article included an item that erroneously described Scott Pruitt’s use of his position at the Environmental Protection Agency for personal matters. While a Virginia lawmaker, William Howell, said he wrote a letter of recommendation to the University of Virginia Law School on behalf of Mr. Pruitt’s daughter, McKenna, he actually wrote it while Mr. Pruitt was the attorney general of Oklahoma. After publication of this article, additional research by a legislative aide, Mr. Howell said, showed he had incorrectly stated the date of the letter, which he said was actually written on Nov. 1, 2016, more than three months before Mr. Pruitt was confirmed as E.P.A. administrator, in February 2017. The law school, which had declined to comment for the article because of privacy concerns, issued a statement on Saturday saying Ms. Pruitt had given the school permission to confirm that she had been offered early admission in late November 2016 and that the “application was evaluated according to our usual admissions procedures.” The material about Ms. Pruitt’s application has been removed from the article.”

Other papers have taken the Times to task over the original story.

The Washington Times wrote:

“A father asks a colleague for a letter of recommendation for their daughter? And this is a scandal;? Will the New York Times hold their staff up to this standard? Is every employee of that august organization suspect if they got a letter of recommendation through a family member? We’d be looking at a pretty empty newsroom, not to mention the executive suite. ”

The Times took The Hill to task as well for republishing the original Times piece.

“But when a story like this is published, it catches fire. The Hill published the most despicable “take” on this non-story that has been retracted: “Pruitt enlisted aides to help daughter get into law school, gain internship: report.” their headline screamed.

The Hill then dutifully copied and pasted the facts from the NY Times piece (which have now been removed) and flowered up their own descriptions of the episode. Now, they’ve had to amend their story as well. “