Thanks to New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan for providing the first acknowledgment by anyone at the Times of a fundamentally flawed story I have noted here before.
I won’t revisit the saga of a 2007 Times puff piece about matchmaker Pari Livermore here. Read the links below if you want the background. The story’s premise was flawed and it inaccurately referred to a “charity event,” when the primary beneficiary was not registered as a charity. I think the Times should have corrected the story, regardless of its age (Sullivan called for an follow-up, not a correction). While we disagree about the need for a correction, I applaud Sullivan’s acknowledgment that the Times should have followed up on it when it learned about its flawed premise.
On one point I will heartily agree with Sullivan. Nancy Levine contacted Sullivan and me after she almost made a donation to Livermore, after finding and reading the Times story. But Levine, an executive recruiter, did a little more checking and learned that Spotlight on Heroes, the organization Livermore told her to make the check out to, wasn’t actually registered as a charity.
Levine has sent dozens of emails to Sullivan, other Times editors, other media editors and directors, California legislators and regulators. Sullivan described Levine as “one of the most persistent people I’ve ever come in contact with.” That I can attest to. This, not so much:
I’ll note that Mr. Buttry is almost as dogged as Ms. Levine.
No, I’m not nearly as dogged as Nancy is. She is also one of the most persistent people I’ve ever come in contact with. The media need persistent, dogged people to hold us accountable. Thanks, Nancy!
— barbara raab (@bbabbo1) November 14, 2015
— Matt DeRienzo (@mattderienzo) November 14, 2015
— nancy levine (@nancylevine) November 14, 2015