I’ve been wondering when we’re going to get a correction to that story about the activist against the Sensenbrenner bill whom the L.A. Times described as “ambivalent on immigration reform.” After four days of watching the story go uncorrected, I couldn’t help myself. So I wrote the Readers’ Representative, Jamie Gold, to ask what’s up:
I can’t be the first person to write you about this, but I am nevertheless curious to know if and when this story is going to be corrected. The offending line:
Smallwood is ambivalent on immigration reform, saying demands for immediate citizenship by those who entered the country illegally are offensive.
As you must certainly know by now, Cyndi Smallwood, the employer described in the article, is anything but “ambivalent” about immigration reform. As Michelle Malkin recently wrote:
[A] simple Google search shows that Cyndi Smallwood is president of the Orange County chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association, and is a member of the association’s “Immigration Task Force.” The activist group opposes the “Punitive Immigration Reform Bill Proposed by Rep. Sensenbrenner.”
Conor Friedersdorf documented Ms. Smallwood’s activism and concluded:
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!
Again, I can’t be telling you anything you don’t already know. This has been featured on Kausfiles, L.A. Observed, and Michelle Malkin, at a minimum. It is impossible that the editors are unaware that the story gravely misrepresented Ms. Smallwood’s position on illegal immigration. I assume that the misrepresentation was unintentional on the paper’s part, yet it was very significant and highly convenient for the story. It bolstered the credibility of Ms. Smallwood’s laughable (and since debunked) assertion that she could not find American citizens to do landscaping at $34 an hour. Had the reporter dug up the appropriate facts, there would have been a very different story, or perhaps no story at all.
Here’s what I’m curious about: all of this information came out on Friday, and here it is, Tuesday morning, and yet I see no correction to the story. If there has been one, it doesn’t show up in searches using the paper’s search engine, or appear appended to the original story.
I assume the paper must be working on a correction. When can we expect to see it?
In complaining about the fact that no correction has issued for four days, I suppose that I may sound like the media equivalent of the small child in the back of the car who says: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” And I may well get back a response that is the polite equivalent of: “We’ll get there when we get there!”
But it seems to me that instant online publishing has reduced the reading public’s patience for corrections that take days to issue. It was clear on Friday that this story was flawed. Perhaps the paper is still investigating the full extent of Ms. Smallwood’s deception — but if that’s the case, they could post a brief note saying so. In the old days, maybe we would have stood still for the lumbering-dinosaur practice of issuing corrections a week or more after the original error. I’m not so sure we are willing to wait so long any more.
As always, I’ll let you know what I hear back.