The New York Times was told it had the story wrong when the newspaper tried to tarnish United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, but went ahead anyway with a piece that wrongly linked Haley to $52,701 being spent on drapes for the ambassador’s New York City residence.
Last Thursday, The New York Times wrote a story that now bears the prosaic headline, “State Department Spent $52,701 on Curtains for Residence of U.N. Envoy.”
However, when it appeared, the headline read, “Nikki Haley’s View of New York is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701,” The Hill reported. Haley’s photo also appeared with the story, which claimed that the spending was done at the same time the State Department was cutting back in other areas.
Even the initial Times story noted that the decision to move the U.N. ambassador’s residence was made in 2016 and that the purchase was approved by the Obama administration.
Haley, appearing Thursday night on “The Story” with Martha MacCallum, said there was no question that the Times knew the facts, according to a video posted on YouTube.
Haley said fighting fake news is a daily battle.
“Unfortunately if you’re in public service, this is the life we live every day. It’s just a matter of this one got through. You know we are stopping stories every day that aren’t truthful, or don’t have the facts,” she said.
She said the truth was known before the story was printed.
“And so this one, I hadn’t even taken the job when these curtains were picked out. And so the idea that this came out, we told the reporters that these were the facts. They knew the facts and released the story anyway,” Haley said. “They printed it anyway and it was down in the story, in like the seventh paragraph down at the bottom.”
But the damage was done, she said.
“All last week every day wherever I went, people were asking me about my court curtains and the damage is done once and story is out. I appreciate the retraction but that story follows you everywhere you go. That’s a tough part about public lifestyle,” she said.
The report engendered a Twitter war.
1/ A word on the false meme bopping around about @nikkihaley’s $52,701 curtains. NYT story notes in 6th paragraph, “A spokesman for Ms. Haley said plans to buy the curtains were made in 2016, during the Obama administration. Ms. Haley had no say in the purchase, he said.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 14, 2018
Less government spending?
The hypocrisy is stunning- and stunningly consistent- across the entire Trump Administration.
Don't serve the people, take from them. https://t.co/8B4Eqk7FQ3
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) September 14, 2018
Want an example of subtle ways media pushes their bias? See this completely false & misleading headline about @nikkihaley. They are not “her curtains” & buried deep in story is the fact that this purchase was made under Obama administration. https://t.co/fus7Ds6pEc
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 14, 2018
In the end, the Times offered an editor’s note as a way of making up for their “unfair impression.”
“An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed,” it wrote in a note preceding the story.
However, that did not satisfy the New York Post, which said that the apology deserved as much ballyhoo as the initial story.
“All that’s still missing is an apology at least as public as the original smear,” the Post wrote in an editorial.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.