NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos is speaking out against the network's investigative series alleging abuses in the foster care for Native American children in South Dakota.
The award-winning reports, which first aired in 2011, alleged that an increasing number of Native American children were being removed from their homes and placed in non-native homes. A driving factor, NPR said, was a subsidy that South Dakota receives for every child placed in foster care.
Schumacher-Matos investigated the reports for 22 months, and ripped the series in a statement on Friday. He said that it contained "factual errors" and insufficient evidence for its claims. "My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was," he declared.
Meanwhile, NPR said in an editor's note on Friday that it "stands by the stories." The network responded to Schumacher-Matos saying that it found his investigation to be "deeply flawed," and that his main source was the state official whose activities were scrutinized in the original report.
"Overall, the process surrounding the ombudsman's inquiry was unorthodox, the sourcing selective, the fact-gathering uneven, and many of the conclusions, in our judgment, subjective or without foundation," it said.