• Did New York Times Reporter Stuff Evidence Challenging Elizabeth Warren’s Pregnancy-Discrimination Tale?

    Surge Summary: Questions continue to linger about the truthfulness of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s assertion she was let go from a teaching position back in the early 1970s because she was pregnant. Evidence indicates at least one reporter at a major newspaper kept relevant information about the matter concealed. If so, why?

    A New York Times reporter failed to report on public records, which he obtained in April, that seemed to contradict presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) story about being let go from a teaching position thirty-eight years ago due to pregnancy discrimination.

    National Review’s Jack Crowe and Tobias Hoonhout relay,

    Reid Epstein, who was then working for the Wall Street Journal, filed an open-records request with the Riverdale Board of Education on April 2 seeking “to inspect or obtain” copies of public records relating to Warren’s time teaching at Riverdale during the 1970-1971 school year. In response to his request, Epstein on April 10 received school-board minutes that challenge Warren’s story, according to documents obtained by National Review through the New Jersey Open Records Act.

    Epstein moved to the Times April 19, but never ended up breaking the story. When contacted for comment, a Times spokeswoman explained the “records were inconclusive” and the account needed further sourcing.

    Inconveniently for the “Gray Lady”, however,  the Washington Free Beacon obtained this month the referenced school-board minutes. They show the Riverdale Board of Education had approved a second-year teaching contract for Elizabeth Warren in April 1971. Yet, instead of accepting the board’s offer of continued employment, the young teacher submitted her resignation. It was “accepted with regret,” per the minutes from a school-board meeting held two months after the offer was extended.

    The day following the Free Beacon’s story on the apparent discrepancy, the Times published an article naming Epstein as a contributor. The piece frames the report around “the discrimination that many pregnant women have faced on the job”, featuring Warren’s statement waving off the evidence gathered by the Beacon as lacking in context.

    “I was pregnant, but nobody knew it. And then a couple of months later when I was six months pregnant and it was pretty obvious, the principal called me in, wished me luck, and said he was going to hire someone else for the job,” Warren told CBS News on October 7.

    Epstein continued to publish articles at the Journal until May 4, none of which included reporting on the school-board minutes. His final byline was published more than three weeks after he received the relevant documents. He declined to comment when asked why he failed to report the story.

    New York Times vice president of communications Danielle Rhoades Ha explained that the paper did not feel comfortable publishing the contents of the school-board minutes given that the documents may not fully explain the circumstances of Warren’s departure.

    “As has been reported, the meeting minutes of the Board of Education showed that Warren’s contract was extended for another school year. We sought interviews with contemporaneous sources about that contract and her statements that she was ultimately let go once she was visibly pregnant. Many of those sources, including fellow teachers, the school principal and board members, were dead,” her statement read. “Others said they did not remember. The records were inconclusive about the circumstances under which she left, and we continued reporting. The Times and others have since reported about Warren’s statements about her departure as well as the board minutes.”

    The Massachusetts’ senator’s anecdote of how she was “shown the door” after a single year because her pregnancy became visible has been introduced repeatedly during her quest for the presidency. She insists the experience fueled not only her commitment to gender equality but, as well, her decision to enter politics.

    Questions around Warren’s account first emerged in early October, when a Jacobin magazine journalist resurfaced a 2007 interview at the University of California, Berkeley, in which Warren claimed she left teaching of her own volition in order to care for her child.

    “I worked in a public school system with the children with disabilities. I did that for a year . . . I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, ‘I don’t think this is going to work out for me,’” Warren said at the time. “I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years.”

    In Warren’s memoir, A Fighting Chance (2013) she mentions the episode but sketches her departure from the school as owing to sexist discrimination rather than as her personal decision as implied by the school-board minutes.

    “By the end of the school year, I was pretty obviously pregnant,” Warren writes. “The principal did what I think a lot of principals did back then—wished me good luck, didn’t ask me back the next school year, and hired someone else for the job.”

    So, all that said? The situation remains murky. Sen. Warren, who wants to oversee the government of the most powerful nation on the planet, owes supporters, potential voters, every American for that matter, some clarification. Perhaps there is a perfectly logical explanation. If so, she needs to bring it forth. If not? Well …

    Oh, yes, one other point: whether or not such an explanation is available, the media is obligated to do its job – which includes ventilating every relevant aspect of the candidate’s campaign claims.

    H/T:  National Review/Jack Crowe and Tobias Hoonhout

    Image: Adapted from: Edward Kimmel from Takoma Park, MD – Rally at US Sen 0197 Senator Elizabeth Warren, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76059286

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