The New York Times is standing behind an intern whose reporting has come under fire after it was discovered that he had worked in the past for some Democratic politicians, including President Obama.
Teddy Schleifer, who is a David E. Rosenbaum Reporting Fellow at the Times this summer, wrote an article about the Mississippi Senate race that took place yesterday. The article was criticized by conservatives as a “hit piece,” and emblematic of the liberal bias at the Times, since his connections to the Democratic Party weren’t revealed by the paper.
According to Schleifer’s resume, which is posted on his website, he has interned for Democratic Delaware Gov. Jack Markel, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama’s reelection organization, Obama for America.
Schleifer declined to talk with The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, instead referring questions to Philip B. Corbett, associate managing editor for standards at the Times. Corbett told Farhi that the paper was “confident that his work for us is solid, accurate and fair, and that we can avoid any potential conflicts of interest.”
Corbett doubled down when asked if he thought readers would feel the same way if they had been made aware of Schleifer’s background. He told Fahri that he hoped and expected that “fair-minded readers will perceive our coverage as fair and accurate,” and that he is comfortable with Schleifer’s work.
Translation: Since most of our readers are liberals, they won’t have a problem.
It would be one thing if Schleifer was writing an opinion column—but he’s not. He is interning as a reporter—writing about political news in this case—but there is little doubt that his Democratic ties influence his reporting.
The Times has an opportunity to show the public that they actually care about fair and accurate reporting by reassigning Schleifer to a non-political beat, but instead they have reaffirmed their commitment to liberal media bias by standing behind him.