Excerpt from The New York Times


The 'Report on Accuracy and The Associated Press' contained a Sept. 15, 1979, letter to the editor to The New York Times. The letter was from Howard Brock, communications director for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, Brock complained about an Associated Press report carried by The Times that said the state had taxed a 12-year-old boy's sale of worms and demanded payment on the spot. Here are some excerpts from Brock's letter:


"The basis of some widespread misconception about the incident was an Associated Press report (used by The Times in its story of Aug. 25) which contained some key inaccuracies and omissions and was in its total effect misleading.

"In response to a complaint (which made no mention of a 12-year-old boy about a fish bait business failing to collect sales tax, the department's Taxpayer Services Division quite properly sent a form letter. It did not (as the A.P. said) demand the recipient 'to cough up' taxes due within 20 days but merely some information within that period.

"Very concerned when they learned that a boy was involved and that he was upset by the letter, the division took the unusual step of sending one -- one! -- representative to his home (and this was not reported by the A.P.) specifically and only to alleviate his fears and assure him and his mother they were not in trouble"