The New York Times’ sprawling, moving five-part piece on Dasani, a homeless girl, is getting some backlash from the office of Michael Bloomberg. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, two Bloomberg aides called the Times series — by Andrea Elliott — “a misleading commentary on the tenure of Michael Bloomberg” and “a serious distortion of reality.”
The Bloomberg aides then go on to post all sorts of pro Bloomberg stats concerning his work with the homeless. The aides also expressed disappointment that despite the Times piece being 28,000 words, “The author could not find room to print a single quote from us defending our record.”
In a response to the Bloomberg criticism, the Times’ assistant managing editor for investigations, Matt Purdy, explained that they would’ve loved to include a quote, but something funny happened: Elliott was told no quotes could be used:
In reporting these stories, Andrea had extensive communications with officials at a variety of city agencies, as well as directly with the mayor’s office. Any responses to substantive issues, such as the conditions at the Auburn shelter or reports of sexual abuse there, were reflected in the story, but were issued on the condition that the officials not be quoted.
Huh. Sort of hard to quote someone who asks not to be quoted, isn’t it?