NPR, ProPublica stand by Red Cross coverage, decline correction request

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NPR and ProPublica categorically refuted calls from the Red Cross Wednesday to correct an investigative series that found fault with the charity’s response to Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy.

In a 12-page letter to the outlets, the Red Cross requested 10 corrections, arguing that the reporting was flawed, was based in part on a “lone source” and failed to take into account the charity’s successes. NPR and ProPublica’s coverage alleged that the Red Cross diverted emergency vehicles for public relations events, wasted food, mismanaged responses in disaster areas and misled donors about its spending on charitable endeavors. The stories were part of an ongoing series that began in April 2014.

In their response, NPR reporter Laura Sullivan and ProPublica reporters Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger refuted the complaints point by point. They also pointed out that the charity did not respond to requests for response during their investigation.

“Our stories have been scrupulously fair to the Red Cross,” they wrote. “The Red Cross had an opportunity to respond to every fact, detail, and allegation from our reporting before every story.”