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Amazon Blasts New York Times’ Failure to Vet Sources: ‘No Defensible Explanation’

”The bottom line is the New York Times chose not to fact-check or vet its most important on-the-record sources, despite working on the story for six months,“ Jay Carney writes

The tit-for-tat between Amazon and The New York Times waged on Monday as Amazon’s Jay Carney fired back at the paper’s executive editor Dean Baquet’s defense of the Times’ August story depicting Amazon as a “bruising” workplace.

“The bottom line is the New York Times chose not to fact-check or vet its most important on-the-record sources, despite working on the story for six months. I really don’t see a defensible explanation for that failure,” Carney, senior VP for Amazon’s corporate affairs, wrote in a response to Dean Baquet’s defense of the Times’ story.

He poured cold water on Baquet’s support for reporter Jodi Kantor, who Amazon claims was misleading as far as her intentions to write a fair and positive story.

“Falling back on the claim that Ms. Kantor and Mr. Streitfeld talked to ‘more than a hundred’ people doesn’t explain why they chose not to check the stories of their most critical on-the-record sources, or to inquire whether any of those sources might have an axe to grind,” Carney continued.

The most important source Amazon contested in its complaint against the Times is Bo Olson, who the retailer claimed resigned after it confronted him over fraud. Baquet disputed that fact, claiming that Olson denied ever being approached by Amazon over fraud.

Carney countered that the reason the Times didn’t know about Olson’s fraud was because Kantor never asked them for the reason he left the company despite the fact that they were “using his quote to set the tone for their entire 5,600-word article,” Carney continued.

The former U.S. press secretary concluded with a sharp lesson he thinks the Times should learn.

“Reporters like to joke about stories and anecdotes that are “too good to check.” But the joke is really a warning. When an anecdote or quote is too good to check, it’s usually too good to be true.”

Read Carney’s full response here.