According to organizers, thousands of Chinese nail salon owners will gather in front of The New York Times Company headquarters at 11a.m. today to protest a two-part "expose" of their industry.
The series, which appeared in the print edition of the paper on May 10 and 11, inspired Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) to enact regulatory changes that's making it harder for salon owners to do business in New York State.
It's the third protest in front of the Times building in two months. There will likely be more.
Here's why the protesters have a right to be angry with The New York Times: The paper's coverage broadly mischaracterized the nail salon industry, and it was filled with factual errors and misquotes. The series violated the standards of responsible journalism. It shouldn't have been published.
That's the conclusion of a three-part series, totaling about 8,000 words, which I've been working on for the past several weeks. It takes a careful look at the paper's coverage. The first installment appeared at Reason this morning, and parts two and three will go live over the next couple days.
Here's an excerpt:
If it hadn't had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn't be worth such intense scrutiny. But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons. In August, Cuomo issued an emergency order mandating that salons purchase a new form of insurance called a "wage bond" so that if owners are discovered paying their employees less than the legally required wage, the workers have recourse to collect.
The rush to legislate based solely on the Times' shoddy reporting has hurt the industry. New nail salons, "which used to open every week in New York," have stopped appearing, according to Aiming Feng, an accountant and leading business advisor to nail shops.
Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they'll hire only legal workers who've completed an occupational licensing program because they're afraid of getting in trouble.
Read the whole thing. And check back tomorrow for the next installment.