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)