NEW YORK 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.
The original article, more than 1000 words in length, was written by Nicholas Confessore. He also wrote the news article about the error today. Without saying that he wrote the first story, he wrote today: “The Times did not verify many aspects of Ms. Fenton’s claims, never interviewed her children, and did not confirm the identity of the man she described as her husband.”
Read the whole thing.
Here’s another case of the NYT having to backtrack and fact check a story several times. (Hat tip for that link: My pal Les)
Apparently the NYT’s new motto is “if at first you don’t get it right, try try again ….” thoroughly confusing readers in the process. Not a very good sign for the “newspaper of record.”