Following up on our recent posts with the correspondence of McClatchy News investigative editor James Asher, reader Todd B. wrote Asher:
You may not wish to hear anymore from people like myself, but I would very much like to ask you a few questions, and to briefly comment on a statement of yours. I have been following your correspondence with a writer for Power Line regarding McClatchy’s coverage of the alleged racist incident outside of the capitol building. You stated that you were not quoted in full, but it is my understanding that what was quoted was at least accurate.
One such quote was that you felt no reason to investigate McClatchy’s coverage of the event because, “we feel confident that the congress members would not concoct their stories.” I must say, having studied journalism myself, that this does not sound like the reasoning of a journalist. I would like to ask if this is always your policy? Are you in the habit of rubberstamping claims by congressmen, or do you have some other reason to put so much faith in the word of these particular congressmen?
It seems to me that if these things were shouted, especially as many times as the congressmen claim they were, taking into consideration the number of cameras, reporters, and police present, that there should be both video evidence, and corroboration for this account beyond that of the two congressmen. Otherwise, such an inflammatory story should not be published. I would also say that, whether you can see it or not, these congressmen had ample motive to concoct their stories.
Another statement you made, after receiving a few too many emails such as this one, was, “U know I’m getting a little tired of this.” It should be obvious to you by now that we conservatives and Tea Party activists are getting pretty tired of the way we are covered in media outlets such as yours. When anyone can approach a reporter and tell them anything about the Tea Partiers, and it is reported as fact with no regard for professional skepticism, it is very troubling.
To answer a question you raised, no, we do not think that racism and bigotry have ended in this country. We simply see no evidence that it was employed in this incident.
I have tried to keep this civil and professional, because I respect that you have taken the time to address our concerns. I hope that you can find the time to address mine.
Asher responded, sort of, as follows:
U did keep it civil. Thanks. Not like most of the other readers of this site who have emailed. They prefer to use words like lapdog, weasel, moron, and more.
It wud be nice if these folks followed your example.
But the truth is, you and the others shud have done a little reading about what mcclatchy journalists stand for before being so accusatory. See our website at www.mcclatchydc.com.
Enjoy. And thanks for reading.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Asher’s message is a tad unresponsive. One may infer that he doesn’t have much to say on the merits of the issues raised by Todd B. Asher’s touching faith in the veracity of the gentlemen of the Congressional Black Caucus remains undisturbed.
Over at Big Journalism, the editors have sicced Retracto, the Correction Alpaca, on McClatchy. They have submitted a formal correction request (with videos that demolish McClatchy’s March 20 story). A response going beyond Asher’s testimonials to McClatchy News is warranted.