Clark Hoyt, the “public editor” of the New York Times has finally addressed Ed Whelan’s contention that Linda Greenhouse has a conflict of interest by virtue of reporting on Supreme Court cases in which her husband has participated. Readers will recall that Hoyt failed to respond to Ed for a full month. Eventually, Hoyt responded by asking Ed for the briefs Greenhouse’s husband filed — documents that Hoyt surely could have unearthed himself — and by repeating Greenhouse’s misleading attempts to gloss over the conflict under which she has been laboring. Once Ed accommodated Hoyt’s request for documents and blew away Greenhouse’s evasions, Hoyt had little choice but to write something in his paper.
What Hoyt wrote is quite a piece of work. In essence, Hoyt admits that there is a conflict and that the Times mishandled it. But he does so only after attacking Ed for calling the problem to the paper’s attention.
Deep into his column Hoyt acknowledges:
Like it or not, the perception is that Greenhouse is writing about something in which her husband is a player