23 March 2006

This whole "fact" concept eludes them, doesn't it?

[source, source]

An article in The Metro Section on March 8 profiled Donna Fenton, identifying her as a 37-year-old victim of Hurricane Katrina who had fled Biloxi, Miss., and who was frustrated in efforts to get federal aid as she and her children remained as emergency residents of a hotel in Queens.

Yesterday, the New York police arrested Ms. Fenton, charging her with several counts of welfare fraud and grand larceny. Prosecutors in Brooklyn say she was not a Katrina victim, never lived in Biloxi and had improperly received thousands of dollars in government aid. Ms. Fenton has pleaded not guilty.

For its profile, The Times did not conduct adequate interviews or public record checks to verify Ms. Fenton’s account, including her claim that she had lived in Biloxi. Such checks would have uncovered a fraud conviction and raised serious questions about the truthfulness of her account.

Perhaps we’re being too harsh on the NY Times. Perhaps they have moved on from centralized fact checking to a more distributed version, where the journalists just write whatever comes to mind and the blogosphere fact checks it for them.

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The customer is always right.

[source, source]

A coalition force on Thursday freed three Christian peace activists taken hostage in Iraq, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the captives were rescued in a joint U.S.-British operation in rural area northwest of Baghdad, between the towns of Mishahda, 20 miles north of Baghdad, and the western suburb of Abu Ghraib, 12 miles from downtown.

Well, that group did request that no violence be used to rescue them, so I think the Caliphascists should get a “do-over”.

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