In an article titled “A Nasty Slip on Iraqi Oil”, the Guardian again addresses the false report it ran last week on Paul Wolfowitz’s speech in Singapore:
“Unusual efforts were made not only to correct but to kill the story because it was wrong and by Thursday morning was attracting worldwide interest. There were telephone calls from media organisations in South Africa and New Zealand, for example, seeking to check it. It provided another example of the speed with which information (and misinformation), spreads through the internet.” Indeed. We were among those who checked the Guardian’s report against the transcript of Wolfowitz’s remarks and attacked the Guardian’s story.
The Guardian concludes: “The story should not have run. In view of the significance of the statements attributed to Mr Wolfowitz, rigorous checking should have taken place. The hazard of translating remarks from German back into the English in which they were originally made should have been apparent.
It concluded a week in which the Guardian apologised to the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, for locating him at a meeting he did not attend. It has not been the best of weeks.”
The Guardian thinks its errors are especially unfortunate since the paper is, as it candidly admits, “a valued source of news and liberal comment.” It doesn’t seem to occur to the Guardian’s editors that that is precisely the problem.
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