When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

23 March 2006

Another Bad Slip for 'NY Times': Katrina Victim Unmasked

For the second time in less than a week, The New York Times today admitted to a serious error in a story. On Saturday it said it had misidentified a man featured in the iconic 'hooded inmate' photograph from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Today it discloses that a woman it profiled on March 8 is not, in fact, a victim of Hurricane Katrina--and was arrested for fraud and grand larceny yesterday.

As it did in the Abu Ghraib mistake, the Times ran an editors' note on page 2 of its front section, along with a lengthy news article (this time on the front page of Section B). Again mirroring the Abu Ghraib episode, the newspaper revealed a surprising and inexplicable lapse in fact-checking on the part of a reporter and/or editor.

How absolutely fascinating.

First, the Times runs a story purporting to be an interview with an Abu Ghraib torture victim - the one in the iconic photograph. And that turns out to be a pack of lies.

And then they interview a "Katrina victim" who turns out to be a professional confidence artist.

I guess some stories are just too good to fact-check, especially when they make the right people look bad.

Know what I mean?

Another Bad Slip for 'NY Times': Katrina Victim Unmasked (Editor and Publisher)

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