No Fact-Checking, No Correction

I wrote last night about the New York Times’ vendetta against the Koch brothers, which has been pursued through a series of false and misleading news stories, editorials and op-eds. So far, the Times has issued one correction of its false reporting, but has allowed other errors to stand.
My post last night related to an op-ed by David Callahan. On Koch Industries’ web site, you can read this email which Koch’s general counsel sent to the Times, requesting that several egregious errors in Callahan’s piece be corrected:

To: Andrew Rosenthal, Editorial Page Editor, The New York Times
From: Mark Holden, Koch Industries
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 5:44 PM
Subject: David Callahan’s April 3, 2011 Op-ed article
Dear Mr. Rosenthal:
I bring to your attention several errors in David Callahan’s article in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times on April 3, 2011.
Overall, Mr. Callahan’s analysis conflates political activities and philanthropy, and fails to recognize the differences. But the law is clear and to be unsure about the fundamentals, upon which he proposes his remedy, especially in an article on your opinion pages, does a disservice to your readers.
First, Mr. Callahan’s description of what the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allows is completely incorrect and his entire analysis seems to rely on his erroneous understanding of this case and its effects. 501c4 groups have always been permitted to accept unlimited corporate, union, and individual contributions without publicly revealing their donors except to the Internal Revenue Service. Further, these groups could spend unlimited amounts on lobbying, grass roots activities, voter registration and other advocacy. In fact, as the Times reported at the time of the Citizens United decision in January 2010, the Supreme Court decided by an 8 to 1 majority to uphold the Federal Election Commission’s disclosure requirements for 501c4 groups like Citizens United.
Second, contrary to what Mr. Callahan suggests in his opening paragraph, donors cannot deduct their contributions to political activities. Such a fundamental error in the opening paragraph calls into question everything that follows. In fact, Mr. Callahan compounds his errors by equating philanthropy and political giving, as evidenced by his second sentence in the sixth paragraph.
Third, Mr. Callahan failed to check his facts when he declared that Charles and David Koch have contributed funds to FreedomWorks. As noted in past stories in the Washington Examiner and the Washington Post, Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch and David Koch have no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks.
I request that you publish a correction to this article in a forthcoming edition of The New York Times.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely, Mark V. Holden
Koch Industries, Inc.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

These errors are so serious that they raise, once again, the question whether the New York Times makes any real effort to see that it is informing, rather than misinforming, its readers. Koch’s web site indicates that, after receiving no response to the above email, the company sent a follow-up on April 8. As of today, no correction by the Times has been forthcoming.
We call on the paper’s Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane, to investigate his newspaper’s animus against the Koch brothers and their company–one of America’s most respected companies, which employs 50,000 people in the U.S.–and explain why his newspaper has produced a series of false and misleading attacks on them. Further, we call on Mr. Brisbane to see that appropriate corrections are made, where there have been factual errors and misrepresentations.

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