NYT Admits Another Major Katrina Error

Earlier this month, the New York Times wrote about a Katrina evacuee, Donna Fenton. The story focused on the difficulties the woman had encountered in receiving assistance, highlighting her frustrations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Yesterday, the woman, who had falsely claimed to be a Katrina victim, was arrested for welfare fraud and grand larceny. Today's Times reports that story, and notes its previous coverage appeared "more than a month after Brooklyn prosecutors, prompted by suspicious officials at the city's welfare agency, began investigating her."

It also admits: "The Times did not verify many aspects of Ms. Fenton's claims, never interviewed her children, and did not confirm the identity of the man she described as her husband."

According to an Editor's Note appended on today's article:

"For its profile, The Times did not conduct adequate interviews or public record checks to verify Ms. Fenton's account, including her claim that she had lived in Biloxi. Such checks would have uncovered a fraud conviction and raised serious questions about the truthfulness of her account."

This is yet another in a series of serious blows to the New York Time's credibility. Perhaps if the newspaper hadn't been so eager to find fault with the Bush Administration's handling of the crisis, it would have taken the time to confirm the woman's story.

Hurricane Katrina New York Times