Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Ted Kennedy and New Bedford Mass Standard-Times confidentiality agreement with student hoaxster

Romenesko gets a letter asking,
From ROGERS CADENHEAD: The New Bedford [Mass.] Standard-Times reported on Dec. 17 that a local college student was visited by homeland security agents after requesting Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book" on interlibrary loan:

Seven days later, after the story attracted international attention on hundreds of weblogs and online news sites, the student admitted that he fabricated the story. The newspaper has neither apologized for running the original story or revealed the name of the student.

At what point does a newspaper find sufficient cause to break a confidentiality agreement? The 22-year-old student knowingly lied to the newspaper and harmed its reputation across the entire planet. Though the follow-up story is allergic to the notion the paper might have erred, blaming it hilariously on a "perfect storm" and running an op-ed "thumbs down" to the student for lying, the source's anonymity puts all of the consequences of the hoax on the newspaper suckered by it.
Too jaded of me to suggest the answer is a plot to drum up something for Sen Kennedy's editorial against the Patriot Act? Because this was the only fact Kennedy could cite.

Was this student pulling a prank on a News Paper or was there more going on here?

After all, his story was used to sway opinion on an imporatnat piece of legislation.

hat tip to Yet Another Unitarian Univesalist Blog

Earlier posts here and here.

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