Sunday, October 06, 2002
More on the White/Leopold/Krugman situation: In addition to the note at the bottom of Krugman's column (you can find the link below), the New York Times also had this short article regarding the issue.
The article, and Krugman's retraction, made news at Jim Romenesko's Media News, and prompted Jason Leopold to write in and defend his article.
You can find the letter here, but you have to scroll down -- I'm reprinting it here in full for your information.
From JASON LEOPOLD: Subject -- The New York Times, Jason Leopold, Thomas White and Salon.com. I want to bring to your attention an issue that has come to light regarding my story on Thomas White and Salon.com. This week, Salon pulled the story off its website and made statements about me that are simply untrue. This story was picked up several weeks ago by Paul Krugman, columnist for the New York Times. Because of Salon's actions, the NYT came down hard on Mr. Krugman to print a correction in his column Friday, Oct. 4, unless he could get me to reveal to him the identity of my sources and speak to them directly.
I revealed my sources on the Thomas White story to Paul Krugman, including the person who sent me the email. He spoke to each and every one of my sources and verified their employment with Enron through W-2 documents they faxed to him. In addition, he verified the authenticity of the email by speaking directly with the person who sent it. Moreover, I found that Salon had erred in stating that I plagiarized seven grafs from the Financial Times. The paper was credited three times in the original story. Only an idiot would credit a story and then at the same time plagiarize the same story.
I took these unusual steps to reveal my sources to Krugman and provided him with documents because he was told by the NYT editorial board that if he could get me to do that then he could write a column that defends me and state that he independently verified everything. This was a painstaking process, having to convince more than a dozen sources to speak up, albeit in defense of me and confirm the authenticity of documents, particularly the email.
However, when Krugman informed his editors and the editorial board of the NYT that he had independently secured confirmation from all of my sources and verified the authenticity of the email, the NYT was shocked, according to Krugman, and then told him it was not good enough, that despite all of this verification he could still not write a column in support of my story, the documents mentioned, or reveal to readers that he spoke to my sources. Krugman, to his credit, did everything in his power to get the NYT editorial board to allow him to write the column he wanted regarding the Tom White email.
Now the NYT has put me into a position where I can no longer win the trust of my sources because they broke their promise to me. Had the NYT told me or Krugman their plans for never honoring the agreement, I would have never revealed my sources to the paper. This clearly became an issue for the NYT to pursue a salacious story about me rather than pursue the story itself, which is Thomas White and whether he wrote this email.
Leopold's claims certainly are interesting. I'd love to hear something from Krugman on whether these claims of a deal are true, and whether or not Krugman really does believe that the e-mail is authentic and Leopold's sources are bona fide.
Unfortunately, I'm still extremely skeptical of Leopold's article and his sources. The New York Times editorial page isn't one to crumble under political pressure from the Secretary of the Army or the White House.