Accuracy in Media

Another reporter has lost his job for fabricating and possibly plagiarizing parts of a story he wrote on reaction to President Bush’s immigration speech last month.

In the article, Paul Bradley of the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch led readers to believe that he interviewed Bill Threlkeld of Project Hope and Harmony who was the main driving force in getting a worker’s center approved in Herndon, VA when he did not.  In addition to the fabricated interview Bradley lifted pieces of a Washington Post article describing workers sitting around a picnic table waiting to be taken to job sites.  He also describes a pavilion protecting the workers from the elements which has been planned but not yet built. 

To their credit the paper dismissed the reporter and plans an investigation of his previous stories to see if he committed similar offenses.  On the other hand it begs the question as to how the paper let this happen.  In this age of the internet it is very easy to check for errors and incidences of plagiarism but all too often editors would rather take the chance of running a dubious story than risk losing out to their competition.  They preach ethics and practice the opposite.

The public’s trust in the media is already very low.  Cases like this don’t help.

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