A commenter to my earlier post links to Village Voice Media’s response to Nicholas Kristof’s Times article about how VVM’s Backpage.com profits from human trafficking. The VVM article is headlined “What Nick Kristof Got Wrong.” Kristof used a victim to illustrate his story. A video that accompanied Kristof’s story ran with a headline that said the victim was 16 when she was sold on Backpage.com. VVM points out that according to the victim’s own court testimony, she was 16 in 2003 — before Backpage.com even existed.
Ouch. Sounds like Kristof really blew that one. An apology is in order.
Not so fast. Here’s his response to their response:
In fact, Alissa turned 16 at the end of 2004. All during 2004, she was 16 years old, traveling up and down the east coast being pimped. Backpage operated in at least 11 cities during 2004, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, both of them cities Alissa where says she was pimped on Backpage. Then at 17, as Backpage expanded to 30 cities including Boston, she was pimped even more broadly on Backpage — and also in Village Voice print ads, she says.
It’s interesting to me that the VVM story carries a generic Village Voice Media byline. Could they not find a single reporter in their entire chain who was willing to put his name on a story that shows slipshod reporting by a New York Times writer? Usually that’s the sort of story that goes into the clip file, something a reporter would be proud of. In this case, we appear to be looking at something else altogether.