The L.A. Times won’t be issuing any correction or clarification regarding the story of Cyndi Smallwood, the allegedly “ambivalent on immigration reform” entrepreneur who is actually an activist against the Sensenbrenner bill. Recall that, this morning, I wrote Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold about this issue, quoting extensively from sites that had uncovered the extent of Smallwood’s activism. The Readers’ Rep has replied to my e-mail as follows:
Thanks for sending me links to websites that include others’ interpretations of the Times article from last week.
The Times article outlined the reasons why Cyndi Smallwood supports a guest-worker program. It reported that she lobbied her own congressman on the issue. I think the article as a whole makes it clear what Smallwood wants in the way of immigration reform, and why she wants it. There is no need for a correction.
And so it goes. As Mickey Kaus says, the Times piece was “based entirely on someone it pretends is a regular citizen (and an “ambivalent” one at that) when really they are a pro-guest-worker activist!” Conor Friedersdorf added this comment:
If traveling to Washington DC to lobby for a trade association, planting pro-guest worker program quotes in multiple press outlets and backing a specific faction in the immigration reform debate is considered ambivalence on immigration reform I’d like to see the Times version of an activist!
. . . .
[I]t’s absurd for the Times to write that article without mentioning those affiliations, and downright dishonest to include inaccurate language that gives readers a flawed impression of who Ms. Smallwood is. This is particularly egregious because we do learn, for example, that Ms. Smallwood had a son that died of a drug overdose — in other words, the information wasn’t cut for lack of space as the most irrelevant thing to the story — and that she talked to her local Congressman about immigration (that near the end of the story), a detail offered without any hint that her political actions go far beyond a citizen visiting her Congressman’s district office.
Evidently, Times readers are going to be left in the dark as to the extent of Smallwood’s activism. And this is a conscious decision by Times editors.
You can express your opinion at the paper’s handling of this issue by writing to: Readers.Rep@latimes.com.