Yesterday, I posted an angry blog about some bad reporting that sunk a worthwhile project in Texas.
Today, the writer of the original article, kristinn Taylor, wrote a long blog, demanding that Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs, Media Matters and others print apologies and retractions.
Herewith is my own response, as posted at Little Green Footballs:
An open letter to Jim Hoft (aka The Gateway Pundit) and his loyal sidekick Kristinn Taylor,
Dear Messrs Hoft and Taylor,
I have read Mr Taylor’s demand for apologies and retractions from those writers who found fault with your reporting abilities regarding the now canceled Weslaco project. I am referring to this blog published today at the thegatewaypundit.com
As one of those writers finding fault with your coverage (see which, Wheat-dogg’s World), I am writing this open letter to respond to your demand.
Are you seriously demanding an apology for someone calling you out for your sloppy reporting?
Professional journalists check and doublecheck their facts. You didn’t. You apparently cribbed from one source, KRGV-TV, and you admit as much in today’s blog.
What Johnson fails to report is that I link in my article to a report by KRGV-TV posted July 14 that states:
“WESLACO – BCFS Health and Human Services secured a $50-million federal contract to house young illegal immigrants in Weslaco.
“The network of non-profit agencies will take over the Palm Aire Hotel and Suites on FM 1015.
“BCFS officials say they plan to have 600 beds once the hotel is turned into immigrant housing. They say 650 jobs will be created at the site.”
The KRGV-TV report includes video showing their anchor reporting on air the same report about a $50 million federal contract for BCFS.
Let me let you in a little secret we print journalists have about broadcast journalists: local TV guys are often sloppy reporters. They get only as much information as they need to fill 2 minutes of air time. So, sadly, they often get things wrong.
You did not bother to check this figure, it seems, but merely repeated what another reporter said. That’s sloppy work, Mr Taylor. You should be doing your own research, not relying on others. That way, if they screw up, you won’t be in the line of fire.
Did you even bother to contact BCFS to find out how much money they were going to spend, or whether they were going to use federal or non-federal funds? Their offices are right in San Antonio. You could have called them, or sent an email, and asked someone pointblank where the $50 million figure came from.
And don’t go on and on that your critics (like me) could have done the same thing. It’s your story. Own it. Take responsibility for it.
Moreover, you offer a lot of conjecture instead of real facts in this paragraph:
BCFS obviously had the green light from the Obama administration to rush in to a deal that was worth the group spending a reported $3.8 million in what BCFS claimed would have been non-federal money to buy the Palm Aire Hotel and Suites to house illegal alien teens there starting October 1st . Otherwise it would not have risked its reputation in its home base of Texas and its relationship with the Obama administration by telling the local media and government officials it was buying a $3.8 million resort hotel to fulfill a $50 million annual federal contract to handle illegal alien teenagers.
Here’s another secret about journalism: never assume anything. Get the facts straight first, then put them in context.
So, did they really get a “green light” from the White House, or are you assuming they did? You insinuate that BCFS was using federal funds when they say they weren’t. Were they, or weren’t they? You suggest it wouldn’t risk its reputation by proceeding with an ambitious plan without such approval. Is that what BCFS told you, or did you just make it up in your own head?
I’d take your complaints a lot more seriously if you could offer real factual information, and not your own fevered conjectures. That’s a cardinal rule in debate, by the way. You should file that idea away for later use.
BCFS was going, in fact, to pitch its proposal to the county commissioners. It was not a done deal, as your original article and your apology demand suggest. Without local approval, the project would have been canceled.
As it was, because your shoddy reporting convinced BCFS to drop the idea in the face of your “misreporting” — their words, not mine.
Real journalists check and double-check their facts before publishing their articles. All you apparently did is cut and paste from local media sources, embellish the facts with your own biased conjectures, and in the process single-handedly sank a worthwhile project before it ever pulled away from shore.
The project could have benefited the local economy, and 600 children. You killed it. Nice work. Your family must be proud.
As for your last paragraph,
It is not our fault the currently open Palm Aire Hotel and Suites advertises (with eye-catching photographs) it has large beautiful swimming pools, Jacuzzis, saunas, tennis courts, racquet ball courts and a spacious exercise room with 20 machines and free weights.
Yes, it is entirely your fault, because nowhere in your article do you point out that BCFS was planning to renovate the facility, which would mean all the “luxury resort” amenities would be gone. (Hint: the Palm Aire is a 3-star tourist hotel, NOT a resort.) No, instead, you implied (falsely) that the immigrants were going to be housed in a luxury resort worth $50 million, paid for entirely with government funds. That’s certainly what your screaming headline would lead the casual reader to conclude.
So, Messrs Taylor and Hoft, you’re not getting any apologies from me. If you had done your jobs as journalists, and got your facts straight in the first place, I and others would not be so angry.
Finally, as for your whining about being misunderstood and being unfairly accused of being liars, grow some cajones, ese. Maybe you’re too used to your loyal admirers and sycophants praising every syllable that exudes from your computer. In the real world, journalism is not for the faint of heart. Real journalists take a lot of heat. If you make some rich and powerful people angry, you get threatened – -especially when you’re right. If you screw up and get something wrong, you get yelled at.
If you don’t like being called liars, do your fucking job and check your facts. Otherwise, you’re just a couple of bloggers with axes to grind who aren’t fit to be called journalists.
* Like you, I don’t hide my real name. I trust you and your fans will use this information wisely and responsibly.
Read more at Little Green Footballs.