Thursday, April 05, 2007

More Foibles at the NYT

Forgetting for a moment Jason Blair and the fact that the Times published an article that seemed to exonerate the Iranians from guilt in the recent hostage-taking...

I can't seem to find much press about a more recent screw up at the Times. The fact that the huge and widely dispersed article they published, "The Woman's War", featured an account of a humvee attack in Iraq recounted by Naval construction worker (Amorita Randall) that was never fully checked out before the magazine went to press. Her story was used amidst a series of accounts meant to elucidate the role that sexual harassment in the military contributes to PTSD in female troops.

Randall told the Times Magazine:
"Saying something was looked down upon,'' says Amorita Randall, who served in Iraq in 2004 with the Navy, explaining why she did not report what she says was a rape by a petty officer at a naval base on Guam shortly before she was deployed to Iraq. ''I don't know how to explain it. You just don't expect anything to be done about it anyway, so why even try?''
On days she was feeling stable, she would want to talk, calling me up and abruptly jumping into stories about her six years in the Navy, describing how she was raped twice - the second rape supposedly taking place just a matter of weeks before she arrived in Iraq. Her experience in Iraq, she said, included one notable combat incident, in which her Humvee was hit by an I.E.D., killing the soldier who was driving and leaving her with a brain injury. ''I don't remember all of it,'' she told me when I met her in the sparsely furnished apartment she shares with her fiancé?. ''I don't know if I passed out or what, but it was pretty gruesome.''

This from Slate.com:
"The reason Randall doesn't "remember all of it" is because it never happened. She never went to Iraq.

The Times Magazine fact-checkers didn't contact the Navy to verify Randall's story until three days before deadline, according to the editors' note. Hours before press time, a Navy spokesman denied Randall's account to the Times Magazine, the note states. Randall still stood by her account, and the Times Magazine sent it off to press with a passage containing the Navy contradiction: "No after-action report exists to back up Randall's claims of combat exposure or injury. A Navy spokesman reports that her commander says that his unit was never involved in combat during her tour."

Three days after the piece went to press, reports the editors' note, the Navy provided the conclusive evidence that Randall had lied. Only part of Randall's unit was sent to Iraq, leaving her behind." (source)

And this is still considered the "Best Newspaper in the World"? Why, because it's written on a 7th grade level as opposed to a 4th grade level? When does accountability actually kick in? Even liberals must be disillusioned with the paper (though you’d never guess that by the MSM’s constant praise of it) because they have been consistently losing money and stocks have dropped 50% in the past five years (with Bush in office you’d think they’d be booming…)

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