NY Times lists “oversight” for failure to mention senator accused of bribery is a Democrat

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A New York Times writer spent 1,300 words detailing the corruption scandal surrounding the trial of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez (D). Now, he’s being criticized for omitting an important fact: Menendez’s political affiliation.

Senator Menendez was allegedly bribed by a wealthy friend and campaign donor, Salomon Melgen, in exchange for governmental favors. Implicated in the case is then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), who may have played a part in helping Menendez. The federal bribery trial, the first one for a sitting U.S. senator in 36 years, is set to begin Wednesday.

Writer Nick Corasaniti covered Menendez’s story but failed to mention that Menendez is a Democrat in his lengthy piece. He apologized on Monday for the “oversight,” after Twitter users “politely” reminded him that the information was a relevant fact.

David Martosko, with the Daily Mail, tweeted: “Nowhere in this long @nytimes story about Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial does it note that he’s a Democrat. Shame on you, editors.”

Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune, wrote: “Rs in my feed complaining [NYT Nick Corasaniti] piece [about] Bob Menendez doesn’t mention he’s a Democrat. I’ll admit: It’s … odd.” 

There were plenty of additional tweets on the subject, enough that Corasaniti replied. He responded to Smith’s tweet on Monday evening, describing it as an “oversight.”

Responses to the reasoning were tepid. One Twitter user pointed out that Corasaniti may not have made the “oversight” if the person on trial had been a Republican: @JeremyinAkron tweeted: “Right lol, it would’ve been in the headline if he was a Republican.”

Another, @iowajustin, thought it was “[f]unny how these oversights always happen in the same direction.”

Corasaniti’s story has since been updated. In the fourth paragraph, Menendez is cited as a Democrat. The article does not include a note that it was updated, however.

Menendez faces 12 corruption-related counts, including six counts of bribery.

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