NY Times Public Editor Blames ‘Deadline Scramble’ for Believing Brony Prank
After The New York Times was tricked into publishing the false information that Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was a brony, public editor Margaret Sullivan addressed the embarrassing mistake in an op-ed and explained what went wrong.
British teenage blogger Benjamin Wareing managed to convince a Times reporter that he was Roof’s friend, and tricked him into publishing that Roof was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and a My Little Pony enthusiast. While Sullivan wrote a long op-ed praising the papers’ Charleston reporting, she addressed the snafu in a postscript.
“In the midst of the deadline scramble last week, some erroneous information was included in one Times story for about three hours online,” she wrote. “As Fusion reported, a British teenager set out to trick The Times with some bad information — and succeeded. The story now carries an editor’s note.”
“[T]he incident proves once again the need to verify as fully as possible,” Sullivan continued. “‘If your mother tells you she loves you,’ says the journalism aphorism, ‘check it out.’ Not enough of that happened here; and clearly should have. News in the digital age is happening at warp speed. Verification and caution are more necessary than ever.”
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