The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Has Jack Shafer landed another Jimmy's World?

Pick up the story (and URLs) from his latest piece.

We're talking about Peter Landesman's sex slaves article for the New York Times Magazine on Sunday, and various TV shows he did to plug the piece. Shafer cites some good circumstantial evidence that needs explaining - stuff throwing doubt on credibility.

But this looks in a different league (talking about his lead subject, Andrea):
On Fresh Air, Landesman damages Andrea's status as a source when he mentions that she "suffers from multiple personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder," facts not contained in his Magazine piece. If this is the case, how much of Andrea's story should we believe? Were his editors aware of the mental condition of one of his primary sources? Has Landesman corroborated any of her testimony or is he taking it all at face value?

Since we're now witnessing an explosion of rejoicing [1] in certain sections of the US portion of the blogosphere about the discomfiture of the BBC over the Hutton Report, it may be as well to note the regular evidence (of one degree of cogency and another) of persistent editorial ineptitude and indolence at the acme of American journalism [2].

Where they have an ombudsman but (January 14) no fact-checking department.

Is Landesman's piece yet quite in the class of Janet Cooke's Jimmy's World? Perhaps not on what Shafer's got so far. But it looks as if he's keeping on digging.

  1. I'm reminded of the famous (in the UK, for those of a certain age) cover of the soi-disant satirical magazine Private Eye of Zulu warriors prancing with assegais, with the caption
    Verwoerd: A Nation Mourns
    following the guy's assassination in 1966.

    The bloggers are nowhere near as ecstatic as Rupert Murdoch, of course, who is looking to see the 2006 BBC Charter cast the Corporation into the dungeon of subscription-only highbrow TV. Blair and Murdoch: the continuation of a beautiful friendship...

  2. How are journalistic standards over at the neocon's closest rag, the Moonies' Washington Times, I wonder? Is the fact we hear so much less about the Wash Times' snafus because it makes so few? Or is so much better at covering them up? Or because most people don't take the blindest notice of what's written there? Now I'm curious...

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