Rangel Attacks Times; Times Fires Back
New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel has taken on The New York Times, attacking the paper's coverage of Rangel's finances, taxes and questionable ethics.
This time, The New York Times fired right back.
The House Ways and Means Committee chairman sent The Times a scathing letter after its Nov. 25 article, "The Congressman, the Donor and the Tax Break," examined Rangel's connection to oil firm Nabors Industries. The oil company's chief executive, Eugene M. Isenberg, promised $1 million to Rangel's pet project, a public policy school at the City College of New York that bears his name. Meanwhile, Rangel proved to be "instrumental" last year in preserving a tax loophole in the Caribbean for the drilling company, the Times reported.
The Democratic congressman called the article and others by Times reporter David Kocieniewski "inflammatory" and charged that the paper's story on Nabors Industries reflected "willful blindness to the history of that legislation and a fundamental ignorance of the legislative process that produced it."
In turn, Kocieniewski penned a point-by-point response to Rangel's claims, noting that lobbyists and congressional staff members made clear that Rangel's objections led to the tax loophole being saved.
The letter is part of Rangel's "concerted counterattack" against The Times, Politico's John Bresnahan reports.
"Rangel has vehemently denied any link between Isenberg's donation and his committee's action -- or even that he was aware of Isenberg's contribution, -- and aides to Rangel have raised questions about the accuracy of the Times story," he wrote.
The Times' response, while dispassionate and straightforward, raised eyebrows.
"But the Times, like the wily little know-it-alls they are, posted the letter online alongside a point-by-point takedown of his arguments," New York Magazine penned in its "Daily Intel" blog. "You really have to read it to believe it -- now the paper has moved beyond implying that Rangel has done wrong and is currently calling him a liar and a fantasist."
By Derek Kravitz |
December 4, 2008; 5:45 PM ET
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