Monday, March 26, 2007

it's deja vu all over again

These stories seem familiar somehow..
New York times gets it wrong, again
On March 18, the New York Times published this story about female soldiers who served in Iraq and are now having problems as a result.

One of the women mentioned in the story claims to have been sexually assaulted twice in the last few years and that she suffers severe mental problems as a result of being deployed to, and injured in, Iraq. Her story is gripping because of the vivid details given.

One problem though: she never was sent to Iraq. She was in Guam the whole time.

The NYTimes did insert a correction in the online addition today, a full week after they published this story (anyone know about the print edition at all?), but knew full well when they went to print with this article that portions of it may have been inaccurate. Where have I seen that before?

The Times contacted the Navy just three days before this story went to print, not exactly giving them time to look into it. Nevertheless, the Navy DID provide enough info to the Times to where they should have questioned this woman’s story, at least to the point of leaving her out entirely.

Of course there’s NO agenda at work here, folks. None at all.

War story told by former sailor disputed
The Navy, while expressing sympathy to a woman it believes is suffering from stress, is annoyed that the Times did so little to check the woman’s story. A Times fact checker contacted Navy headquarters only three days before the magazine’s deadline. That, said Capt. Tom Van Leunen, deputy chief of information for the Navy, did not provide enough time to confirm Randall’s account of service in Iraq. Nonetheless, Van Leunen said, by deadline the Navy had provided enough information to the Times “to seriously question whether she’d been in Iraq.”

Hhmm... where have a I heard something like this before? Well, bad NYT stories are too numerous to count. But I experienced the fallout of women and sexual assault stories first hand. Let me caveat that with I hope that the women's attackers are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But I have seen damage done to the trustworthiness of all the women in a group based on the misrepresentation of a few.

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