The New York Times Defends Its Story On The Affirmative Action Memo


The New York Times defended its report on an internal memo from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a follow-up story Wednesday, after DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the report was “inaccurate.”

TheNYT broke news Tuesday night about an internal memo the outlet obtained that reportedly showed that the DOJ was planning on investigating, and possibly suing over, affirmative action cases. Flores ripped the report Wednesday as being rife with errors. The memo was not seeking to protect white students, but was looking for lawyers to potentially investigate a complaint from Asian-American students on affirmative action that had not been finished by the Obama administration, she said.

“This Department of Justice has not received or issued any directive, memorandum, initiative or policy related to university admissions in general. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting all Americans from all forms of illegal race-based discrimination,” Flores said in a statement.

Despite a DOJ spokesperson ripping the news report as inaccurate, Charlie Savage, the NYT reporter that broke the news, wrote a piece doubling down on the original report and trying to defend its accuracy.

“In a statement, the department sought to play down its recruitment of Civil Rights Division lawyers for what it had billed in an internal announcement as work on ‘investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions’,” Savage wrote.

Savage even cited former employees from the Civil Rights Division in the DOJ to try and back up his narrative that the DOJ memo signaled a potential roll-back of affirmative action policies to try and protect white students.

“I am skeptical of the explanation that this detail announcement would be for an investigation of one single complaint. To have that structure to investigate a single complaint, outside the normal chain of command for career attorneys who investigate these sorts of complaints all the time, that’s quite weird,” Savage said, quoting a former Obama DOJ official.

TheNYT’s original report on the memo still has yet to be updated with corrections. As of now, the lede of the story still alleges the memo is aimed at protecting white students.

“The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times,” the report begins.

Savage later tweeted out a story from TheNYT on how affirmative action potentially hurts Asian Americans, even though his original story was framed to imply that the DOJ is trying to help white students.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to TheNYT about their original reporting but received no comment in time for publication.

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