The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Watchdog team did some excellent investigative work examining errors Rep. Darrell Issa’s office claimed in last week’s New York Times story on Issa. Watchdog found some serious inaccuracies.
Among them, Watchdog confirmed Issa’s claim that he bought a medical office building for $16.6 million, not the much lower price claimed by the New York Times. Thus, Issa didn’t made a huge profit selling the building, as the NYT said:
The Times said the sale price of the building was $10.3 million and it “soared” in value to $16.6 million due in part to the earmarks pushed by Issa.
County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk Ernie Dronenburg on Friday confirmed the original sale price was $16.6 million, which is the amount The Watchdog reported in April.
The Watchdog piece found evidence of other errors as well, so you should read the whole thing.
I have to subtract points from Watchdog on the claim that DEI was a supplier to Toyota, because it didn’t credit the Heritage Foundation blog, which first published a statement from Toyota denying DEI was a supplier.
Most revealing to me was the credulity-straining response to the claim that Issa’s office is “overlooking a golf course in the rugged foothills north of San Diego.” It’s a minor, but telling, detail about how far the NYT overreached in its portrayal of Issa.
The area is not characterized by rugged foothills so much as suburban living. Down the street are a Burlington Coat Factory, Target and 24 Hour Fitness.
“I don’t think it implied — at least to my mind — that Issa’s office overlooked the golf course,” Times Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet told Politico. “I think it is trying to give a sense that this is a building in a cool area.”
So according to one of the NYT’s top editors, the article’s statement that Issa’s office is “overlooking” a golf course doesn’t imply that it actually “overlooked” the golf course. The NYT reporter, Eric Lichtblau, told Politico he made that statement, not because he saw the golf course from Issa’s office, but because he could see Issa’s office from the golf course!
At this point, I think it’s fair to say the New York Times story on Issa has fallen apart. A retraction is in order.
However, I thank Baquet for confirming what I’ve long thought — that I live in a “cool area.” I took the photos in this post of Admiral Baker Park this morning, from the balcony just outside my digs off of Mission Gorge Road in the exclusive neighborhood of Allied Gardens.
Sadly, I don’t have any multi
billion million-dollar companies under my control. But hey, I’ve got a better view of a golf course than does Issa’s office!
Eat your heart out, Darrell!
(DISCLAIMER– This post represents my opinion, not necessarily that of my employer, the North County Times.)