The New York Times published an almost 1300-word news story on Monday night about Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial, without ever mentioning Menendez’s party affiliation.
Both in print and on social media, the NYT failed to inform its readers that Sen. Menendez is a Democrat.
“For the first time in 36 years, a sitting United States Senator is facing a federal bribery trial,” read a NYT tweet promoting the story, which was titled: “Menendez Trial Set to Begin With Tensions High and Washington Watching.” (RELATED: Elizabeth Warren Clueless About Implications Of Menendez Trial [VIDEO])
The NYT wasn’t without opportunities to inform its readers which party Menendez belonged to: the paper referred to Menendez 29 times in the story, without once ever mentioning that Menendez is a Democrat.
The paper referred to him as “The senator,” “Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey,” and “Mr. Menendez, a senior senator,” before referring to him as “Mr. Menendez” or “the senator” for the rest of the story. Only after a barrage of online criticism did the NYT note that Menendez is a Democrat, adding in the identifier in the fourth paragraph.
The author of the story, Nick Corasanti, said the omission in the original story was “just an oversight on my part after drafts.” It appears the NYT was able to fix the error before Tuesday’s paper went out. By Tuesday morning, however, neither the NYT’s online nor its print coverage noted that the story had been changed to include Menendez’s political affiliation.
Menendez faces 12 corruption-related charges dealing with his alleged assistance in government affairs of a Democratic donor, Dr. Solomon Melgen, in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including private flights and free vacations. (RELATED: Harry Reid Asked Obama White House To Help Menendez Donor)
This story has been updated to include Corasanti’s statement that the omission was an “oversight,” as well as to note that the NYT fixed the error in time for Tuesday’s print edition but did not include an editor’s note.