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United States journalism scandals lists journalistic incidents in the United States which have been widely reported as journalistic scandals, or which were alleged to be scandalous by journalistic standards of the day.


Notable reports of United States journalism scandals

The Great Moon Hoax, New York Sun (1835)

The Great Moon Hoax was a series of six articles that were published in the New York Sun beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life on the Moon. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, perhaps the best-known astronomer of his time. According to legend, the New York Sun's circulation increased dramatically because of the hoax and remained permanently greater than before, thereby establishing the New York Sun as a successful paper. However, the degree to which the hoax increased the paper's circulation has certainly been exaggerated in popular accounts of the event. It was not discovered to be a hoax for several weeks after its publication and, even then, the newspaper did not issue a retraction.[1][2][3]

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, The Philadelphia Public Ledger (1919)

On October 27 and 28, 1919, the Philadelphia Public Ledger published excerpts of an English language translation of the anti-Jewish tract (itself a forgery) The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as the "Red Bible," deleting all references to the purported Jewish authorship and re-casting the document as a Bolshevist manifesto. The author of the articles was the paper's correspondent at the time, Carl W. Ackerman, who later became the head of the journalism department at Columbia University.[4]

Woodrow Wilson Interview, Louis Seibold, New York World (1920)

In June 1920, eight months after Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke, Louis Seibold of the New York World collaborated with First Lady Edith Wilson and Wilson's private secretary, Joseph Tumulty, to mislead the American public about the state of Wilson's health. Seibold, who Tumulty described as a "trusted friend", spent two days at the White House, purportedly to conduct an interview with Wilson.[5] Seibold and Tumulty wrote the questions and the answers for the "interview".[6] In Seibold's article, he said that Wilson was almost his old self and that he walked with a "slight limp", when in fact, Wilson's entire left side was paralyzed. He also claimed that he saw Wilson "transact the most important functions of his office with his old time decisiveness, method and keenness of intellectual appraisement.", whereas Wilson had an attention span of about sixty seconds.[7] Seibold was awarded the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Reporting for his "interview."[8]

Walter Duranty, The New York Times (1930s)

Walter Duranty, who covered the Soviet Union for The New York Times, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for a series of articles he wrote about Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's effort to industrialize the nation. His stories not only uncritically backed Stalinist propaganda, but also denied that the Ukrainian famine, which killed millions as a direct or indirect result of Stalinist planning, took place. Duranty also defended Stalin's infamous show trials.

Despite efforts by Ukrainian groups to get the prize revoked, the Pulitzer board declined to do so and both the Pulitzer board and The New York Times still list Duranty among its prize winners, albeit with a footnote that his work is disputed. The New York Times hired Mark von Hagen, a professor of Russian history, to review Duranty's work. The review concluded Duranty's reports to be unbalanced and uncritical, and that they often gave voice to Stalin's propaganda.[9]

Downplaying Nazism, New York Times (1930s and 1940s)

The New York Times has been accused of downplaying accusations that Nazi Germany had targeted Jews for expulsion and genocide, in part because the publisher, who was Jewish, feared the taint of taking on any "Jewish cause".[10]

William L. Laurence, The New York Times (1940s)

In 2004, journalists Amy Goodman and David Goodman called for the Pulitzer Board to strip William L. Laurence and his paper, The New York Times, of his 1946 Pulitzer Prize.[11] The journalists wrote that at the time Laurence “was also on the payroll of the War Department"[12] and that, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he “had a front-page story in the Times[13] disputing the notion that radiation sickness was killing people.”[14] They concluded that "his faithful parroting of the government line[15] was crucial in launching a half-century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb.”[16][17]

KGB editor, New Republic (1948 to 1956)

New Republic editor Michael Whitney Straight (1948 to 1956) was later discovered to be a spy for the KGB, recruited into the same network as Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, and Anthony Blunt.[18] Straight's espionage activities began at Cambridge during the 1930s; he later claimed that they ceased during World War II. Later, shortly before serving in the administration of President John F. Kennedy, he revealed his past ties and turned in fellow spy Anthony Blunt. In return for his cooperation, his own involvement was kept secret and he continued to serve in various capacities for the U.S. government until he retired. Straight admitted to his involvement in his memoirs; however, subsequent documents obtained from the former KGB after the fall of the Soviet Union indicated that he drastically understated the extent of his espionage activities.[19][20]

Walter Annenberg, Philadelphia Inquirer (1966)

In 1966, Pennsylvania governor and philanthropist Milton Shapp was opposed by newspaperman Walter Annenberg because of Shapp's opposition to a profitable railroad merger that was sought by Annenberg based on his vested interest in the deal. Annenberg purportedly directed one of his reporters at the paper to ambush Shapp with a press conference question posed to Shapp; "isn't it true that you have been in a mental hospital"? Shapp's denial of the false implications contained in this loaded question then became the "news." The next day, Annenberg's paper ran front page headlines "Shapp Denies Ever having been in a Mental Home." Shapp attributed his loss of the 1966 election to Annenberg's attacks on him.[21] Annenberg only ended his attacks when Shapp tried to get his broadcast licenses revoked. To this day, Annenberg is remembered as a notorious scandalmonger despite his numerous philanthropies.[22]

"Mush from the Wimp", Boston Globe (1980)

On March 15, 1980, the Boston Globe published an editorial about a speech on inflation given by President Jimmy Carter under the headline "Mush from the Wimp". The headline had been written by editorial writer Kirk Scharfenberg as an "in-house joke", expecting it would be replaced by copy editors who normally write the headlines. The copy editors let it through and it appeared in 161,000 copies of the Globe before it was changed during the press run.[23][24]

Janet Cooke, Washington Post (1980-1981)

Janet Cooke was a reporter for the Washington Post during the early 1980s. In 1980 her story, "Jimmy's World", about an 8-year old heroin addict,[25] sparked a frenzied, but unsuccessful, two-week scouring of Washington, D.C. at the behest of then-Mayor Marion Barry, in search of child addicts. The day after Cooke's article won a 1981 Pulitzer Prize for journalism, her editors confronted her about discrepancies in her resume brought to their attention by The Toledo Blade, where she once worked. Cooke falsely claimed that that she attended Vassar College. She confessed that "Jimmy" was a fabrication, resigned and the Post returned the prize.[26]

"Waiting to Explode", Dateline NBC (1992)

In a November 1992 segment on its Dateline NBC newsmagazine program called "Waiting to Explode", NBC showed a startling video which depicted a General Motors truck exploding after a low-speed side collision with another car. However, it was later revealed that the explosion was actually caused by hidden remote-controlled incendiary devices.[27] GM sued NBC and eventually won a settlement. NBC News President Michael Gardner wrote a lengthy correction that was read on Dateline, and he was forced to resign.[28]

The Oregonian's coverage of the Packwood scandal (1992)

The Oregonian was criticized when in November 1992 the Washington Post beat it to the story of sexual harassment charges against Oregon Sen. Robert Packwood. The Oregonian's editors had long known about Packwood's behavior, because he had forced a kiss on one of their female reporters.[29]

Presstek short sellers scandal, New York Times (1994)

In 1994 short sellers, hoping to see the share price of public company Presstek fall, convinced then-New York Times business reporter Susan Antilla to investigate a rumor suggesting Presstek CEO Robert Howard was really convicted felon Howard Finkelstein. Despite interviewing over two dozen people, including both Robert Howard and his son, and finding no evidence of deception, Antilla wrote a column giving credence to the rumor. The day Antilla's column ran, Robert Howard's attorneys met with New York Times editors, who were quickly convinced of Robert Howard's identity and promptly ran a correction expressing regret over printing Antilla's column[30]. Howard sued and a jury subsequently found Antilla guilty of defamation and false light invasion of privacy, ordering her to pay Howard $480,000 in damages[31].

Patricia Smith, Boston Globe (1998)

In 1998, award-winning columnist Patricia Smith was asked to resign from the Boston Globe. Smith, who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist that year and won the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Distinguished Writing Award for column-writing, admitted to putting fictional people in four of her columns.[32] The Globe later returned her ASNE award and withdrew her from consideration for the Pulitzer.

Race also became a touchy point in Smith's firing, because while the Globe fired Smith, who is black, it only suspended columnist Mike Barnicle (who is white) for his plagiarism. Columnist Eileen McNamara argued that Smith's race caused her editors give her the benefit of the doubt when she had been previously suspected of fabrications.

Her editors proved that some of Smith's sources were faked when they could not find some of the people that were discussed in her columns, such as cosmetologist "Janine Byrne"; since cosmetologists' jobs are state-licensed, the Globe did a search for the name in the state's registry.[33]

Operation Tailwind, CNN NewsStand (1998)

On the June 7 edition of NewsStand, CNN alleged that the U.S. used nerve gas in Laos to kill American defectors during the Vietnam War. It retracted this statement and apologized to its viewers on July 2.[34] Time Magazine also retracted and apologized for its coverage of the story.[35]

Stephen Glass, The New Republic (1998)

Stephen Glass was a reporter and associate editor for The New Republic magazine during the late 1990s. On May 8, 1998, Forbes Magazine presented The New Republic with evidence that Glass completely fabricated the story "Hack Heaven", a piece about a 15-year-old computer hacker who breaks into a large company's computer system and is then offered a job by the company. Glass was fired, and an internal investigation determined that 27 of 41 articles he had written for the magazine contained fabricated material. His story was dramatized in the 2003 film, Shattered Glass.[36]

Michael Gallagher (1998)

Michael Gallagher, an investigative reporter with the Cincinnati Enquirer, co-authored an 18-page expose on Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International and its business practices in Central America. Gallagher's stories relied on internal Chiquita voice mails he said were acquired from an inside source, but he had actually been illegally tapping into the company's voice mail system. The paper retracted the stories, ran a front-page apology for three days and paid the company in excess of $10 million in damages, and allegedly agreed not to write further investigative pieces on the mammoth fruit company. The co-author of the stories was unaware of what Gallagher was doing. The paper's editor, Lawrence K. Beaupre, was reassigned to Gannett headquarters following accusations that he did not adequately fact-check the stories because of his eagerness to win a Pulitzer Prize.[37]

Christopher Newton, Associated Press (2002)

The Associated Press fired Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Christopher Newton in September 2002 accusing him of fabricating at least forty people and organizations since 2000. Some of the nonexistent agencies quoted in his stories included "Education Alliance," the "Institute for Crime and Punishment in Chicago," "Voice for the Disabled," and "People for Civil Rights."[38]

Houston Chronicle Light Rail Controversy (2002)

In late 2002 the Houston Chronicle accidentally posted an internal executive memorandum to its website. The memo contained materials that appeared to outline a plan for intentionally slanted reporting that promoted a pending light-rail transit bond referendum in the Houston, Texas metropolitan region. The memorandum was widely circulated and criticized in other Houston print and electronic media outlets; however the paper quietly removed it from its website. When questioned about the memo, Chronicle editor Jeff Cohen replied that the memo was a "story pitch" and refused to apologize for it. Other than Cohen's remarks the paper made no comment.[39] (see article on Houston Chronicle Light Rail Controversy).

False "military expert", Fox News (2002)

For four months in 2002, Fox News used 'military expert' Joseph A. Cafasso who was supposed to be a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Special Forces, won the Silver Star for bravery, served in Vietnam and was part of the failed mission to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980. Cafasso assisted and shared tips with reporters, producers and on-air consultants at Fox. It was discovered that Cafasso had only served 44 days in Army Boot Camp and was discharged as a Private. After he left, Fox was criticized for using him as a 'Military Expert' without ever checking his record and credentials.[40]

Brian Walski, The Los Angeles Times (2003)

The Los Angeles Times fired photographer Brian Walski for digitally combining two photos taken during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Iraq War. Walski claimed he was just trying to create a more compelling picture, but digital photo manipulation is believed to undermine the public's confidence in media. After Walski's picture ran on the Times' front page on March 31, 2003, editors at the Hartford Courant (which like the Times is owned by the Tribune Company) noticed that several people in the photo appeared twice. Walski, who had been on the Times staff since 1998, was fired the following day.[41]

CNN coverage of Iraq and Eason Jordan (2003)

Eason Jordan, news chief for CNN, admitted in the New York Times April 2003 that the network had been aware of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses since 1990. But the network did not cover said atrocities so it could maintain access to Hussein and keep CNN's bureau in Baghdad open. Jordan also defended the decision by saying that reporting on Hussein's crimes would have jeopardized CNN journalists and Iraqis working for them. Critics pointed out that the information on Hussein's crimes against humanity held back by CNN was a critical part of the national debate over going to war to oust Hussein from power.[42]

Jayson Blair, The New York Times (2003)

In early May 2003, The New York Times reporter Jayson Blair resigned after being confronted with evidence of fabricating quotations and details in at least 36 articles. The incident, and the revelations about management that followed, shook the journalism community, given that many journalists regard the Times as the nation's most prestigious newspaper.

Scrutiny quickly fell on executive editor Howell Raines, and to a lesser extent managing editor Gerald M. Boyd, as testimony from Times watchers and employees disgruntled with Raines' autocratic management style showed the duo had fast-tracked Blair for promotion, despite warnings from other employees about Blair's erratic behavior and high error rate.

Times' Metro editor Jonathan Landman wrote in an e-mail to Raines that the paper "...need[ed] to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now." On June 5, 2003, Raines and Boyd resigned as a result of this scandal.[43]

Rick Bragg, The New York Times (2003)

The New York Times discovered that reporter Rick Bragg relied heavily on stringers and interns. Bragg's May 2003 comments to The Washington Post, dubbed "infuriating and absurd" by business reporter Alex Berenson, fueled a heated debate in the Times newsroom about the mechanics of reporting, proper attribution, the limits of drive-by journalism and the granting of credit to unseen subordinates, freelancers, and interns who contribute behind the scenes. The repercussions were felt far beyond New York City, as news executives around the United States examined and in many cases tightened their policies. Bragg's defense—that it is common for Times correspondents to slip in and out of cities to "get the dateline" while relying on the work of stringers, researchers, interns and clerks—sparked more passionate disagreement than the clear-cut fraud and plagiarism committed by fellow reporter Jayson Blair.[44]

"Gropegate", The Los Angeles Times (2003)

The Los Angeles Times drew fire for a last-minute story before the 2003 California recall election alleging that gubernatorial candidate and film actor Arnold Schwarzenegger groped scores of women during his movie career. While the story itself was not discredited, the newspaper's motives and timing were brought into question. The newspaper ran the story days before the recall even though it had prepared the story weeks beforehand. Columnist Jill Stewart pointed out that the Times did not do a story on allegations that then-Governor Gray Davis (who was the subject of the recall and eventually removed from office) had verbally and physically abused women in his office. The Schwarzenegger story was run with a number of anonymous sources (four of the six alleged victims were not named); however, in the case of the Davis allegations, the Times decided against running the Davis story because of its reliance on anonymous sources. Times editor John Carroll stated that the Times lost over 10,000 subscribers due to the negative publicity surrounding this article.[45][46][47][48]

Jack Kelley, USA Today (2004)

In early 2004, an anonymous letter to editors of USA Today triggered an internal investigation into the conduct of one of its star reporters, Jack Kelley. Kelley resigned after USA Today found letters from him to his friends on his office computer, asking them to pretend to be sources when editors verifying his stories called them. An internal investigation later found that Kelley had been fabricating stories or parts of stories since at least 1991, and that outside sources had been warning USA Today reporters about Kelley's conduct. Furthermore, investigators found a "climate of fear" in the news section that discouraged co-workers, many of whom were suspicious of Kelley's work, to come forward. The investigation concluded that editorial favoritism played a significant role, given that Kelley had "star" status at the paper. Previous attempts to examine discrepancies failed, according to the investigation, because editors set out with the goal of exonerating Kelley. USA Today's top two editors resigned as a result of the Kelley scandal.[49]

The Oregonian's coverage of the Goldschmidt scandal (2004)

The integrity of The Oregonian took a blow after it was revealed that the paper failed to act on evidence that former Democratic Governor Neil Goldschmidt committed statutory rape. Willamette Week, a Portland alternative newspaper, ran a story that alleged that Goldschmidt engaged in sex acts with his 14-year-old babysitter. As with the Robert Packwood scandal in 1992, The Oregonian had information which it failed to seriously investigate. The Oregonian was further criticized for its follow-up coverage, which called Goldschmidt's statutory rape an "affair." Willamette Week writer Nigel Jaquiss won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage.[50]

Fake "GI rape" photographs, The Boston Globe' (2004)

In May 2004, the Boston Globe published photographs it alleged were of United States soldiers abusing and raping women in Iraq. Shortly thereafter, these photographs were stated to be commercially-produced pornography that were originally published on a web site named "Sex in War". Other news sources had exposed the photographs as fake a week before the Boston newspaper published them.[51]

The ABC News election memo (2004)

A leaked memo dated October 8 from ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin to news staff told them to hold President George W. Bush to a higher level of scrutiny than Democratic challenger, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry since Bush's attacks on Kerry "involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done."[52]

Carl Cameron, Fox News Channel (2004)

On October 1, 2004, Fox News Channel political correspondent Carl Cameron posted a news article on the network's website which apparently contained fabricated quotations attributed to Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate during the 2004 presidential campaign. The article—titled "Trail Tales" -- falsely quoted Kerry as claiming to do manicures and being a "metrosexual" (a slang term referring to a man who is effeminate in appearance). Cameron also delivered a report on the September 30, 2004 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume covering the presidential debates, falsely claiming that Kerry received a "pre-debate manicure." Fox News later retracted the story, saying, "This was a stupid mistake and a lapse in judgment, and Carl regrets it.... It was a poor attempt at humor." Critics claimed that Cameron's article was a definitive example of Fox News' conservative bias. Fox News assured critics that Cameron was reprimanded, and the article was taken down from the channel's website.[53]

CBS News and the "Killian Documents" (2004)

During the 2004 US presidential campaign, CBS produced a report using what may have been forged documents during a September 8, 2004, 60 Minutes Wednesday report on President George W. Bush's Vietnam-era service record. The documents were never authenticated nor could a chain of custody be established for them.[54]

Producer Mary Mapes was accused of liberal bias for working on the story for five years and putting Bill Burkett, the source of the memos, in contact with Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry's campaign. The panel investigation into what was called "Memogate" or "Rathergate" (named after veteran news anchor Dan Rather who defended the legitimacy of the memos on television) accused Mapes of gross negligence for "crashing" the story six days after she received the copies of the memos and doing "virtually nothing" to establish a chain of custody. No original documents have been produced.

The aftermath of the independent investigation's report released on January 10, 2005 led to the firing of Mapes. She later wrote a book arguing that the memos were real.[55] Yet paradoxically Mapes also advanced a conspiracy theory that White House advisor Karl Rove had planted the memos in order to deflect attention from Bush's service record during the Vietnam War. Three CBS executives were asked to resign.

Rather stepped down as anchor of the CBS Evening News on March 9, 2005, with about two years left on his contract. Although denied by Rather and CBS, many critics believe that his early retirement was a direct result of the scandal. Rather has since told reporters that "even if the documents are fakes", he stands by the story. On September 19, 2007, Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and accused the network of making him a "scapegoat" in the Killian story. A CBS spokesman claimed that the lawsuit was "old news" and "without merit".[56]

Thom Calandra, (2005)

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Thom Calandra, founding editor of, of profiting from trades of stocks mentioned in his investment newsletter. The SEC said that from March to December 2003, Calandra made over $400,000 through buying shares of 23 different small-cap stocks while writing favorable newsletter profiles recommending the stocks, and then selling the shares after the stocks rose after his columns were published. Calandra settled the charges in 2005, without admitting or denying the allegations, by paying $540,000 in civil penalties.[57]

Bush administration payment of columnists (2005)

The Bush White House paid public funds to right-wing media commentators by several U.S. executive departments under Cabinet officials to promote various policies of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration. Thousands of dollars were paid to at least three commentators to promote Bush administration policies. This included Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus.[58]

Hassan Fattah, New York Times' Abu Ghraib photos (2006)

In March 2006, the New York Times ran a front-page interview by reporter Hassan M. Fattah with an Iraqi who claimed he was the man hooded and hooked up to wires in the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison picture. The Internet magazine Salon quickly questioned the man's claim, as did the U.S. military, and the Times soon discovered that the man was not really the person in the picture. Furthermore, the Times had run the actual man's name in its own pages several years earlier. It admitted in an editor's note that it did not do enough to establish the man's identity.[59]

Jack Hitt and New York Times Abortion/Infanticide Article (2006)

On April 9, 2006, the New York Times printed an article by Jack Hitt[60] claiming a woman was jailed in El Salvador for having an abortion. On December 31, 2006, the New York Times published a correction by its ombudsmen where it explained that the woman had been convicted of murdering her child after birth. The author relied on an unpaid translator who had worked with an abortion rights group.[61]

Adnan Hajj / Reuters photographs

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Reuters news agency published photographs that had been digitally manipulated by Adnan Hajj, a Lebanese freelance photographer who worked for Reuters. Reuters terminated its relationship with Hajj and all of his photographs from the Reuters database.[62] After an internal investigation, Reuters fired the editor in charge of photo operations for the Middle East.[63]

CNN sniper video controversy (2006)

On October 18, 2006, CNN aired a small portion of a videotape sent to it which showed snipers shooting at and apparently killing American troops in Iraq.[64] After the news report was shown, Press Secretary Tony Snow accused CNN of "propagandizing" the American public.[65] Representative Duncan Hunter, then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to remove CNN embedded reporters following the airing of the news report, claiming that "C-N-N has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier."[66]

Jeffrey T. Kuhner, Insight "Madrassa" report (2007)

On January 17, 2007 the online news magazine Insight (which ceased publication in 2008) published a story which claimed the campaign staff of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) had leaked a report saying that her rival Senator Barack Obama (IL) had attended a 'madrassa' during his childhood in Indonesia and that the Clinton campaign was planning to use this against him in the 2008 primary campaign. Though based on an unsourced claim, Insight's presentation of the word "madrassa" appeared to describe an Islamic school, which Insight went on to imply might have had an intrinsic anti-American bias. In fact "madrassa" in Arabic simply means "school." Soon after Insight's story, CNN reporter John Vause visited State Elementary School Menteng 01, which Obama had attended for one year after attending a Roman Catholic school for three, and found that each student received two hours of religious instruction per week in his or her own faith. He was told by Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the school, "This is a public school. We don't focus on religion. In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."[67] Interviews by Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press found that students of all faiths have been welcome there since before Obama's attendance.[68]

John McCain-lobbyist article, New York Times (2008)

The February 21, 2008 The New York Times published an article on Republican Party presidential candidate Senator John McCain's (AZ) alleged relationship with a lobbyist and other involvement with special interest groups.[69] The article received widespread criticism among both liberals and conservatives, McCain supporters and non-supporters as well as talk radio personalities. Attorney Robert S. Bennett, whom McCain had hired to represent him in this matter, defended McCain's character. Bennett, who was the special investigator during the Keating Five scandal that The Times revisited in the article, said that he fully investigated McCain (who was one of the five accused Senators) back then and suggested to the Senate Ethics Committee to not pursue charges against him.[70]

Former staffer to President Bill Clinton and current Hillary Clinton supporter Lanny Davis said the article "had no merit." Stating that he did not support McCain's bid for the White House, Davis, who had himself lobbied for the same cause the lobbyist lobbied McCain for, said that McCain only wrote a letter to the FCC to ask it to "act soon" and refused to write a letter that supported the sale of the television station the article talked about.[71] Journalistic observers also criticized the article, albeit in a milder language. Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, suggested that the article does not make clear the nature of McCain's alleged "inappropriate" behavior: "The phrasing is just too vague."[72] The article was later criticized by the White House[73] and by several news organizations including the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board.[74] Commentator Bill O'Reilly raised the question about why the paper had endorsed McCain on January 25, 2008 for the Republican nomination if it had information that alleged an inappropriate relationship.[75] The Boston Globe, owned by the Times, declined to publish the story, choosing instead to run a version of the same story written by the competing Washington Post staff. That version focused almost exclusively on the presence of lobbyists in McCain's campaign and did not mention the sexual relationship that the Times article hinted at.[76]

In response to the criticism, the Times editor Bill Keller was "surprised by the volume" and "by how lopsided the opinion was against our decision [to publish the article]".[77] The diverse sentiments by the readers were summarized in a separate article by Clark Hoyt, the Times public editor, who concluded: "I think it is wrong to report the suppositions or concerns of anonymous aides about whether the boss is getting into the wrong bed."[78]

Katharine Weymouth private dinner salon (2009)

On July 3, 2009, The Politico website uncovered the story that Katharine Weymouth had planned a series of exclusive dinner parties or "salons" at her private residence, to which she had invited prominent lobbyists, trade group members, politicians and business people.[79] The cost of attendance to these parties was up to $25,000 per individual, and the events were to be closed to the press and the public. The Politico's revelation sparked controversy in Washington, as it gave many journalists the impression that these parties had the sole purpose of allowing a select group of Washington insiders and business people to purchase the right to be connected to individuals in positions of influence.[80]

See also


  1. ^ Falk, Doris V. "Thomas Low Nichols, Poe, and the Balloon Hoax," collected in Poe Studies, vol. V, no. 2. December 1972. p. 48.
  2. ^ Evans, David S. "The Great Moon Hoax," Sky & Telescope, 196 (September 1981) and 308 (October 1981).
  3. ^ Goodman, Matthew, The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York (New York: Basic Books, 2008) ISBN 9780465002573.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Philip (1997). Hoods and Shirts: The Extreme Right in Pennsylvania, 1925-1950. UNC Press. p. 114. ISBN 0807823163. 
  5. ^ Tumulty, Joseph (1921). Woodrow Wilson as I know him. Doubleday, Page & company. p. 492. 
  6. ^ Pietrusza, David (2008). 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents. Basic Books. p. 191. ISBN 9780786716227. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Thomas (2 June 2003). "Fakery in American Journalism". History News Network. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  8. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes | Awards". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  9. ^ USA Today.
  10. ^ Leff, Laurel (2006) (hardback, paperback). Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81287-9. OCLC 123225279. 
  11. ^ Amy Goodman and David Goodman. "The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media that Love Them". Hyperion, 2004, pp. 296-298.
  12. ^ Leslie R. Groves. "Now It Can Be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project". Da Capo Press, 1983, p. 326. “it seemed desirable for security reasons, as well as easier for the employer, to have Laurence continue on the payroll of the New York Times, but with his expenses covered by the MED”.
  13. ^ William L. Laurence. "U.S. Atom Bomb Site belies Tokyo tales: Tests on New Mexico Range confirm that blast, and not radiation, took toll". The New York Times, 1945-09-12.
  14. ^ Harold Evans. "War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict from the Crimea to Iraq". Bunker Hill Publishing, Inc., 2003, pp. 75-76. " During the development of the atomic bomb, project director Gen. Leslie Groves secretly hired William L. Laurence, a highly respected science reporter with The New York Times, to act as the project's official historian. Laurence eagerly accepted the job — his scientific curiosity and patriotic zeal perhaps blinding him to the notion that he was at the same time compromising his journalistic independence. After the bombing, the brilliant but bullying Groves continually suppressed or distorted the effects of radiation. He dismissed reports of Japanese deaths as "hoax or propaganda." The Times' Laurence weighed in, too, after Burchett's reports, and parroted the government line."
  15. ^ William L. Laurence. “Dawn Over Zero : The story of the atomic bomb”. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1946, p. 224. "mine has been the honor, unique in the history of journalism, of preparing the War Department's official press release for worldwide distribution".
  16. ^ Amy Goodman and David Goodman, "The Hiroshima Cover-Up". Baltimore Sun, 2005-08-05.
  17. ^ Robert Jay Lifton, Greg Mitchell. “Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial”. Avon Books, 1996, p. 12.
  18. ^ Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev, The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives (London: HarperCollins, 1998; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 130.
  19. ^ Michael Straight, After Long Silence, New York: Norton, (1983)
  20. ^ "Michael Straight" (Obituary). Telegraph, 2004-01-01.
  21. ^ Walton, Douglas (November 1999). "The Fallacy of Many Questions: On the Notions of Complexity, Loadedness and Unfair Entrapment in Interrogative Theory". The Journal Argumentation 13 (4): 379–383. doi:10.1023/A:1007727929716. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  22. ^ Citizen Annenberg. - By Jack Shafer - Slate Magazine.
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