Fess Up, New York Times. You Didn’t Break the George Santos Story

Read almost any story about the fraud perpetrated by a lying George Santos before his election to the House of Representatives from New York’s 3rd congressional district and you will see the blockbuster news attributed to the New York Times (NYT).

Certainly, the NYT made no effort to disabuse readers of that presumption. 

In its Dec. 19, 2022 blockbuster story exposing Santos’ lies, “Who Is Rep.-Elect George Santos? His Résumé May Be Largely Fiction”, the paper attributed its discoveries to “…a New York Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Mr. Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail,…”

In a print introduction to a Jan. 5, 2023 podcast on the story, the NYT repeated this claim. “George Santos, the Republican representative-elect from New York, ran for office and won his seat in part on an inspiring personal story. But when Times reporters started looking into his background, they made some astonishing revelations: Almost all of Mr. Santos’s story was fake.”

But it wasn’t the NYT that broke the fraudster’s story. 

It was the North Shore Leader, a local Long Island weekly newspaper with a circulation of about 20,000. And the North Shore leader exposed Santos well before the November election.

The leader has now raised the issue in a story titled “The Leader Told You So: US Rep-Elect George Santos is a Fraud – and Wanted Criminal”.

“In a story first broken by the North Shore Leader over four months ago, the national media has suddenly discovered that US Congressman-elect George Santos (R-Queens / Nassau) – dubbed “George Scam-tos” by many local political observers – is a deepfake liar who has falsified his background, assets, and contacts,” the story says.

Either the NYT failed to give credit where credit was due or the mighty publication utterly failed to check reporting done by a tiny local paper less than a 1-hour drive from the NYT Building on W. 41st St. in Midtown Manhattan.

By the way:

Neither the North Shore Leader nor the NYT newspapers have reported on another interesting journalistic matter tied to Santos. The NYT did report that Santos once told associates he was (in the NYT’s words) “a journalist at a famous news organization in Brazil,” but didn’t go deeper. According to ta Jan. 10, 2022 report by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), Gregory Morey-Parker, who briefly lived with Santos in New York eight or so years ago, told CJR’s Jon Allsop that Santos claimed to have been working at the time for Globo, the Brazilian media behemoth, as a reporter covering human-interest stories out of the US.

According to Morey-Parker, Santos also claimed to be an executive at Globo. When Allsop put this to Ali Kamel, the director-general of journalism at Globo, he described it as “a crazy story” and “a lie, pure and simple.” (Santos’s office did not return a request from Allsop for comment)

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