June 07, 2003

"A Nasty Slip on Iraqi

"A Nasty Slip on Iraqi Oil"

The Guardian provides more detail on the provenance of their erroneous story with a more expansive mea culpa (but no explicit mention of the blogosphere's role in helping to kill the story):

"On Wednesday, journalists on the Guardian's website were alerted to a story running in the German press, in which the US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, was said to have admitted, in effect, that oil was the main reason for the war in Iraq. The German sources were found, translated, and at 4.30pm that day a story sourced to them was posted on the website under the heading, "Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil".
Mr Wolfowitz, in fact, had said nothing of the kind, as a deluge of email, most of it from the US, was quick to point out. Some of it registered disappointment more than anything else - disappointment that a valued source of news and liberal comment had in this instance let them down. "The briefest of searches will bring up articles to totally discredit your story," one complained."

Ian Mayes (the Guardian's "readers' editor") concludes: "It has not been the best of weeks."

But let's say this for the Guardian. They are now apologizing a second time for their gross distortion of Wolfowitz's comments. No, as Mayes' admits, this won't satisfy all readers. But it's certainly better than, say, Pravda's behavior so far.

As detailed in the post immediately below which has not generated anywhere near as much interest in the blogosphere as the Guardian story, Pravda took the Guardian story and further distorted it (though thanks to Innocents Abroad for trying to generate more attention re: this latest journalistic fiasco).

Perhaps the link to the Russian language text scared people off (though I provided Pravda's, slightly less offensive, English language treatment of the story in my original post too). So check out their English language take on Wolfy's comments. And contact their reporter Vasily Bubnov who penned this fabricated piece.

Listen folks, Pravda isn't a Brezhnev era propagandistic totalitarian outlet anymore? We should expect as much from them as from the Guardian, no? Or is Moscow a pitiable journalistic backwater that shouldn't be held to "Western" standards?

Posted by Gregory at June 7, 2003 09:04 AM
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