On March 18th, the New York Times published a piece titled "The Women's War". It was a feature of great length (18 pages on the Internet) centered around the plight of several female Veterans of the war in Iraq. It detailed the mistreatment they suffered by the US Military, sexual harassment they received at the hands of army officers, and their PTSDs (post traumatic distress disorders). A shocking expose is what the Times was going for, it is sure. These women certainly deserved better treatment and the story should be well publicized, of course. It might have had more impact but for the fact that the Times knew that one of the subjects featured in the article wasn't even in Iraq and that her story was a complete lie.
Worse yet, the Times published the story knowing full well that one of their subjects had lied to them. Finally, a whole week after their initial story was published on the 18th, on March 25th, the Times published a mea culpa, correcting the story.
The cover article in The Times Magazine on March 18 reported on women who served in Iraq, the sexual abuse that some of them endured and the struggle for all of them to reclaim their prewar lives. One of the servicewomen, Amorita Randall, a former naval construction worker, told The Times that she was in combat in Iraq in 2004 and that in one incident an explosive device blew up a Humvee she was riding in, killing the driver and leaving her with a brain injury. She also said she was raped twice while she was in the Navy.
...Based on the information that came to light after the article was printed, it is now clear that Ms. Randall did not serve in Iraq
According to Fox New's Rick Leventhal the Times knew far in advance that one of their highlighted subjects was a fraud.
The newspaper knew about the mistakes on March 12, six days before the magazine was distributed, and 13 days before it published the correction.The magazine was printed on March 9 — three days before the lies were discovered — but there was still plenty of time to reprint it. The cost might've been huge, but wouldn't it be worth it for a paper whose masthead proclaims "All the News That's Fit to Print?"
For the Times' part, they claimed there wasn't enough time to correct the story in advance of the publication date.
On March 6, three days before the article went to press, a Times researcher contacted the Navy to confirm Ms. Randall’s account. There was preliminary back and forth but no detailed reply until hours before the deadline.
Leventhal claims the Times knew about it 6 days before press and the Times admits to three. Regardless if it was six or three, there was more than enough time for the Times to print a correction between March 18th and March 25th.
Why did the Times wait an entire week to print this correction when even by their own admission they knew the truth before they printed the original story?
We know what the Times knew and when they knew it (to steal the oft repeated Democrat Party phrase used against GOP administrations), but what we don't know is why it took them so long to admit to it all?
Was there no time at all that they could have published this correction over the course of a whole week? Did they want to wait far enough into the future until they thought no one would notice?
What ever the reason, it is interesting how long they waited in light of how they treat others who "know" things but wait too long in the Time's estimation to admit it all, isn't it?
Imagine if this were Bush waiting to get all the facts straight before coming to the fore with all he knew? Wait, we don't have to imagine it. All we have to do is look to see how the Times is treating the faux scandal of the Gonzales Attorneys General firings.
As John Gibson said of the story:
Does it cost a lot to reprint an entire four-color glossy paper Sunday magazine? Yes. Does it cost a lot in reputation for the newspaper of record to knowingly publish false information and figure it can be fixed with a schedule correction a week later? Yes and yes.
The Times has a political point of view these days it has no problem pushing in its news and editorial pages. OK, it gives up some points in objectivity when it does that, but the publisher has a right to do so. But when The Times knowingly publishes phony information because it costs too much to reprint and thinks a correction a week later will fix things, that suggests something different than just editorial point of view. It suggests a willingness to lie for money. If you'll lie for money, doesn't it follow you would find it much easier to lie for the much higher calling of ideology?
The Times has some explaining to do.
I couldn't agree more.
I actually read that story a few Sundays ago myself. The very first thought I had was a curiosity if the Times fact checked any of the aggrieved women they highlighted. I guess I got my answer!
There is one more thing that should be considered in this mess the Times has made. There were some real stories of women vets that will now be overshadowed by the Times' sloppy work. All the focus will be on the fraudulent claims and the real problems faced by the other women could easily fade into the background.
And now I have to say one more thing. Liberals had for years been trying to break down the roadblocks to women being able to serve in the military and in field positions. Now they have that in many ways, if not full combat. And now we have women getting PTSD because of their harrowing service to the country.
Am I the only one to think that this should not surprise anyone? Military men having been coming home from wars with PTSD since the first clashes of humans. Why are we all upset and surprised that, now that we are putting women in a position to see the same sorts of service, women are finding themselves faced with troubled lives afterward?
I am not saying, of course, that we should just brush off these women's troubles, but can we really justify sensational stories about their troubles as if it is somehow shocking? Shouldn't we just expect the problem and make moves to face it and help these women?