The New York Times knowingly fabricated information in a critical piece this week on former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton, according to Republican commentator and Mitt Romney spokesman Richard Grenell.
The Times piece “Former Envoy Pipes Up in Conservative Chorus of ‘Told You So’ on Iraq,” published Wednesday by reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, falsely cited Grenell as a current spokesman for Bolton, and falsely claimed that Bolton’s camp made outlandish partisan demands, Grenell told The Daily Caller.
Steinhauer, who did not return a request for comment for this report, also wrote mockingly about Bolton’s “sea-otter mustache” and rumored presidential ambitions and lumped him in with other “neoconservatives” including Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz that have “newly emerged” to criticize President Obama’s Iraq policy. But television pundit Kristol and American Enterprise Institute scholar Bolton haven’t really re-emerged from anywhere. They’ve stated their criticisms of Obama’s policies in the Middle East long before most of the mainstream media noticed the current deteriorating situation in Iraq.
“Mr. Bolton’s spokesman, Richard Grenell, said Mr. Bolton would not agree to be interviewed for this article unless the reporter had a Republican lawmaker email on her behalf,” Steinhauer reported in her story.
Grenell now wants to warn Republicans to “take note” of the incident, because “the New York Times doesn’t correct mistakes.”
“From the moment that New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauser reached out to me to tell me that she was asked to do a profile of John Bolton, I made it clear that I didn’t work for John Bolton and that I was suspect of her and her paper’s agenda,” Grenell told TheDC. “I told her I didn’t know her and wouldn’t help recommending her to my former boss and friend John Bolton.”
Grenell worked as a U.S. spokesman at the United Nations during Bolton’s ambassadorship, but is no longer affiliated with Bolton in any official capacity.
“She nevertheless proceeded to email me (a lot) with odd quips and shorthand messages defending her credibility and trying to be humorous about it. She was doing the typical reporter move of pretending we were buddies with the hope I would warm up to her request for help securing the interview. I made it abundantly clear that the New York Times has a credibility problem with Republicans and because I didn’t know her I wasn’t going to help her get to Bolton,” Grenell stated.
“She then tried talking a little trash about an official Bolton gatekeeper that wasn’t helpful and some more trash about her colleague David Sanger who she said ‘Bolton talks to Sanger all the time. Why not me?’ I told her I don’t know who Bolton speaks to but I do know he has known Sanger for a long time.”
The bit about the Republican recommendation, according to Grenell, was first introduced in their conversation by Steinhauer.
“In the course of her trying to make the case that she was a fair journalist, she said that there were ‘many Republicans that would vouch for my fairness.’ I responded, ‘then tell them to email Bolton and tell him. Maybe it will help.’ She said she could easily do it. I never heard anything else about it. It was a 15 second exchange,” Grenell said. “The idea that my comment was later characterized by Steinhauer as a condition is A) laughable and B) ridiculous given she knew I didn’t work for Bolton and wasn’t his spokesman.”
“Jennifer failed to get an interview with Bolton and clearly had to give her editors a reason for striking out. She couldn’t admit to them that ‘he thinks I’m not a fair journalist’ so she made up a reason that covered up her credibility problem,” Grenell said.
Steinhauer’s finished product was riddled with errors, according to Grenell.
“After seeing her piece on Bolton, it clearly wasn’t a profile as she said it would be. I was right to be suspect of her agenda. While she was supposedly working on this profile piece for quite some time, it came off like a recycled google search filled with mistakes,” Grenell said.
“I have to make this point: why is it acceptable for the New York Times to make fun of a Republican’s appearance? Jennifer consecutively makes fun of Bolton’s moustache. I wonder how she would feel if her appearance was mocked in a national newspaper?,” Grenell said. “The New York Times has a serious credibility problem with conservatives – whether they want to admit it or not. Jennifer’s latest piece is only the latest proof. Republicans should take note.”