Feedback from fellow reporters has been less than stellar after it was revealed that the New York Times made significant edits (including changing the headline) to a story it wrote about two inspector generals’ requests that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation regarding the use of a private email server by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Politico reports that the original headline ran by the Times Thursday was “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email.” However, that headline was changed sometime after midnight to the less damning “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account.”
Likewise, the lead sentence was changed from saying that the probe would be “into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state,” to “into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.”
One of the writers of the story, Michael Schmidt, explained to Politico early Friday that the Clinton campaign had complained about the story to the Times.
“It was a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them,” Schmidt said.
Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, released a statement on Twitter on Friday: “Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”
In March at a press conference at the U.N., Clinton insisted that she was careful in her handling of sensitive information with her private account. “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” she said. “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
A former senior State Department official found Clinton’s claim lacked credibility. He told the New York Times in March: “’I would assume that more than 50 percent of what the secretary of state dealt with was classified…Was every single email of the secretary of state completely unclassified? Maybe, but it’s hard to imagine.’”
On Friday, the Times finally decided to inform its readers of the change to its Thursday story.
An earlier version of this article and an earlier headline, using information from senior government officials, misstated the nature of the referral to the Justice Department regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state. The referral addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that personal email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.
Mediaite chronicled the critical responses of some in the media–from both Left and Right–to the Times’ “stealth edit.”
Perhaps the hardest hitting rebuke came from Ricochet’s Stephen Miller:
As reported by Western Journalism, one of Clinton’s claims from her U.N. press conference about her emails has been shown to be false. The State Department confirmed last month that she did not turn over all her work-related emails. Select Committee on Benghazi chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in a statement regarding the revelation: “This has implications far beyond Libya, Benghazi and our committee’s work. This conclusively shows her email arrangement with herself, which was then vetted by her own lawyers, has resulted in an incomplete public record.”
According to the Times, the Justice Department has not decided whether to open a criminal investigation into the transmission of classified material through Clinton’s private email accounts.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth