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  • Boston Globe’s Rape Hoax Photos, continued

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on May 13th, 2004 (All posts by )

    It looks like Instapundit is on the story broached by Jonathan yesterday about the fake pictures of US soldiers gang-raping an Iraqi. It turns out the pictures were from a porn site, and presented as legitimate by a Nation of Islam loony and a moonbat Boston city councillor.

    I e-mailed both the Globe reported under whose by-line the article ran, and the Worldnet Daily reporter who exposed the hoax. I never heard from the Globe (perhaps Ms. Slack has disappeared into the Morrissey Avenue gulag), but Sherrie Gossett was kind enough to reply:

    Sherrie Gossett was kind enough to reply:

    Hi Mitchell:

    Thanks for your note. No images accompanied the online article. It was reporter Slack who told me the Globe ran the photos, and they appeared as “thumbnails,” in the print edition which was “bad enough” according to the reporter.

    Apparently the Globe was getting complaints before they realized the photos were fake, for obvious reasons. The images clearly show gang-rape, in one you can see the insertion of the man’s genitals, and another depicts a naked woman performing fellatio among others. Not standard to publish such images in a newspaper, let alone without bothering to verify either the images or the story itself, which could have been done easily by running a “google/news” search under for example “Iraq rape photos.” In addition the WND expose of the photos was mentioned at Monday’s White House press briefing, and the day after my report on May 4, the US Embassy in Cairo issued a statement demanding that Arab newspapers that ran the photos as proof of US crimes, retract them. So is was ridiculously easy to verify not only the photos, but the story itself.

    In my opinion it was ridiculous and irresponsible to even run a story when it was neither confirmed nor denied at press time. That is of course, no fault of the reporter -it was a purely editorial decision. But again, in my opinion it’s tabloid-style sensationalism to run stories the reporters or editors don’t even know have any validity at all.

    If you read the article, it quotes Slack’s skepticism. But again, editorial should not have run the images, first of all, or the article b/c there was no conclusion in the article as to whether there was anything to this story to begin with. The verification ought to be done prior to publication, not after, and again that was an editorial decision.

    In addition, wherever these images have been published, no attempt has been made to shield the identity of the purported rape victim.

    It’s my opinion that editors (as well as journalists) should approach evidence handed over to them much the same way a police investigator would – investigate it THEN report on your findings.

    SG

    Meanwhile, the Globe has offered half an apology — for running the pictures, but not for falling for the hoax. In the dead tree edition, this ran on page A2, below the fold. The Boston Herald is all over this, of course. Their reaction carries the byline “Herald Staff,” probably because everyone in the building wanted to write it. The story also aired on local radio.

    There were apparently two versions of the picture, which is not available on-line. The one I saw was the smaller, and the details were not discernible.