Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ooops, We Did It Again


Douglas Kelly, editor-in- chief of the National Post, finally speaks about the Iranian Badge fabrication.

It's behind a subscription wailing wall, so we are excerpting from a post by Antonia Zerbisias*:

"It is now clear the story is not true. Given the seriousness of the error, I felt it necessary to explain to our readers how this happened.

The story of the alleged badge law first came to us in the form of a column by Amir Taheri. Mr. Taheri, an Iranian author and journalist, has written widely on Iran for many major publications. In his column, Mr. Taheri wrote at length about the new law, the main purpose of which is to establish an appropriate dress code for Muslims. Mr. Taheri went on to say that under the law, "Religious minorities would have their own colour schemes. They will also have to wear special insignia, known as zonnar, to indicate their non-Islamic faith."

This extraordinary allegation caught our attention, of course. The idea that Iran might impose such a law did not seem out of the question given that its President has denied the Holocaust and threatened to "wipe Israel off the map." We tried to contact Mr. Taheri, but he was in transit and unreachable......


We acknowledge that on this story, we did not exercise sufficient caution and skepticism, and we did not check with enough sources. We should have pushed the sources we did have for more corroboration of the information they were giving us. That is not to say that we ignored basic journalistic practices or that we rushed this story into print with no thought as to the consequences. But given the seriousness of the allegations, more was required.

We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story. We take this incident very seriously, and we are examining our procedures to try to ensure such an error does not happen again.

Too little too late?

You be the judge.

And while you're at it, feel free to note the perpetuation of half-truths that Mr. Kelly uses to justify their running with a single sourced story, A1, above the fold when they couldn't locate that source.

In the meantime........The Zombie Lives!**

*And besides, I'm not sure I can bring myself to shell out for the hardcopy of the thing.
**Note the dates on these missives from the waygoners.
Update For all those flocking over from StevenD's Diary at dkos and other parts of the blogodome, the entire half-a-mama-mea-culpa from Mr. Kelly is now posted up here


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