CNN responded to yesterday’s NYT story about Lou Dobbs with a long statement accusing the columnist of veering from the facts. Click continued to read the full statement:
“NYT columnist David Leonhardt today devotes a full column insisting that CNN correct inaccuracies in two of Lou Dobbsâ€™ past reports. However, it appears that it is Mr. Leonhardt who has the responsibility to set the record straight.
Leonhardt veers from the facts when he inaccurately suggests that a 2003 report on Lou Dobbs Tonight which states that â€œone-third of the people in federal prisons are not United States citizensâ€ is wildly off base. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the percentage of non citizens in federal prisons was 29 percent at the time of the Dobbs report. Leonhardt claims in his column today that the figure was only 6 percent, which is grossly inaccurate and misleading.
Leonhardt also criticizes Dobbs for not correcting a claim made on his show in 2005 about the number of cases of leprosy in the U.S. In fact, Lou Dobbs took the initiative to set the record straight in a full report on the subject two weeks ago.
Leonhardt further criticizes the use of Dr. Madeline Cosman as a source for the initial leprosy reference, yet he fails to note that Dobbs told him that had he known of her controversial views he would never have quoted her. Leonhardt also omits that his own newspaper was no better informed a year later when they wrote a glowing obituary of Cosman in 2006, calling her a â€œprominent writer, scholar, and lecturer.â€
As a network, CNN is determined to set the record straight if there is ever an inaccuracy in our reporting, as we have done in this case. Earnest journalists do err from time to time, and when we do we correct the record. We call upon the New York Times to do the same.”