Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologized the other day for “missteps.” The Globe covers this breaking news by judging its effect on how Native Americans feel about it, I guess because they think cultural misappropriation only hurts the members of the culture you stole from. That isn’t true.
When Joe Biden plagiarized his speech from a British politician, had the politician fully forgiven him, would that have ended the matter? What if the politician were deceased and could not issue forgiveness?
The Warren problem is not one of misstepping, it is one of lying to get ahead. It simply doesn’t matter even if every single actual Native American forgave her. Her actions falsely claiming Native American heritage to gain a career benefit are an insight into her character.
But her apology is insincere, not just because it is purposefully vague, but because she continues to try to parse her actions. She and the Globe, who are teammates or partners on this journey towards the Presidency, continue to say that she received “no benefit.” Here is how the Globe summarizes their findings: “…her political opponents have suggested she used those claims to get ahead, although a Boston Globe review of her career as a professor found that wasn’t the case.”
But that isn’t true, and that was not the finding by the Globe’s coverage. Interestingly, Warren DOES quote the Globe accurately at the top of her webpage on this, but then does a bait-and-switch below. At the top (see photo), she accurately says the Globe found that her false claims had no role “in her hiring.” Below that statement, the Warren website claims “Elizabeth’s family story had no role whatsoever in her incredible academic career.” That was not the finding of the Globe but is her spin on what her website claims.
But the big mistake is being made by the Globe. One would expect Warren to claim no benefit, but the Globe is (supposedly) an independent, objective fact-finder. Yet the Globe’s quote above mischaracterizes their previous work. Why is the Globe pretending that their in-depth research last year absolved Warren of any benefit whatsoever when their work centered only on the hiring processes at the various schools? They didn’t examine if her claim increased her salary, helped her get tenure, or gave her favorable performance reviews. Obviously, the colleges got some benefit in claiming a “woman of color” among their faculty. It is reasonable to assume that benefit trickled down somewhat to the person responsible for securing that benefit.
That the Globe and Warren are working together has been evident in the Globe’s coverage of Warren, which we have tried to document in our (daily? hourly?) Warren Report series. But it was confirmed in today’s article which references the Globe’s work reprinted on the Warren campaign site.
I wrote to the Warren biographer who works at the Globe and to the Editor and asked that they print a retraction or correction. Needless to say, I got no response and the paper has not printed any correction. So the Globe evidently feels okay to falsely claim that Warren received no benefit from her Native American claim. And not only are their reporters misrepresenting the Globe’s initial findings, they are allowing the Warren campaign to use the Globe’s reporting on her website and then falsely claim that her “family story” had no role in helping her career.
To see her webpage with these assertions, click here: https://facts.elizabethwarren.com/family/
*Requires minimim of 5 Ratings to be displayed
Grading articles for bias is subjective. We hope that with widespread participation, we can give the reporters and editors at the Boston Globe valuable feedback on their professional work. Here are our suggestions for grading news articles for bias. (We do not rate editorial opinion columns for bias. But we do analyze the Boston Globe for overall editorial balance.)
Consider whether the article is completely free of bias (a grade of 10 or A), has been mostly free of bias (8 or 9, A- or B+), has been biased but not terribly or where the bias did not hurt the integrity of the underlying information (7 or 6, B or B-).
If the article was fairly biased overall, but subtle; or where the bias was particularly prominent but isolated to a single section, give the article a 5 or 4 (C+ or C). If the article was very biased but perhaps not intentionally so, perhaps a C- (3) would be deserved.
If the article was extremely prejudiced with major misstatements of fact, intentionally misleading, or ignored well known facts to advance a false narrative, give the article a D or F (2 or 1).
Reviewers must subscribe to Public Editor and agree to our terms of service to participate. Subscriptions are currently free. We recommend that all readers subscribe to the Boston Globe or the newspaper of their choice to support journalism, and to send the Boston Globe your feedback directly. Thank you for participating in Public Editor’s bias rating project!