The New York Times has been pilloried this week by both MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and Fox News alike for its coverage of the Internal Revenue Service scandal, and the paper’s public editor thinks the critics have a point.
Times public editor Margaret Sullivan responded Friday morning to readers who wrote this week to complain that the newspaper has provided insufficient coverage of the latest development in the scandal, which centers around missing emails sent and received by former IRS official Lois Lerner.
One reader cited comments by “Morning Joe” regular Mark Halperin, who made an observation on the program Monday that was eagerly trumpeted on Fox News.
“I think with a different administration, one that was a Republican administration, this story would be a national obsession and, instead, it’s getting coverage here and a few other places, but it really deserves a lot more questions,” Halperin said.
The reader also mocked the placement of a story this week on the congressional investigation into the missing emails, echoing the outrage voiced by Joe Scarborough.
“This is why conservatives don’t trust national newspapers,” the “Morning Joe” namesake said Tuesday.
After allowing Times reporter David Joachim, who’s written a number of stories on the scandal, to defend the paper’s coverage, Sullivan threw the critics a bone.
“My take: The Times was somewhat late in beginning to cover the latest development about the lost emails,” she wrote. “My office had begun to field several days’ worth of reader protests on the lack of attention when the first story finally went online.”
But Sullivan also said that, “[d]espite the slow start and the quiet display of the subsequent stories,” the Times has “has given its readers insightful coverage of a situation heavily clouded by partisan politics.”
TPM reached out to the Times on Tuesday for comment on Scarborough’s criticism, but spokeswoman Eileen Murphy took a pass.
“We don’t typically comment on the placement of stories and we’re not going to comment on Joe Scarborough’s point of view on this,” she said in an email.