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March 25, 2007

NYT: US Servicewoman In Iraq Sexually Assaulted, Twice; Lives With Post-Traumatic Trauma of Her Violations And Wounding In Combat

The "mental problems" she suffers from this ordeal should have been a tip-off to the Times to give the Navy more time to investigate her claims. They asked the Navy about the incident three days before they printed the harrowing account.

They've now corrected a few minor errors. Beginnning with the fact she's never been anywhere near Iraq, unless one considers Guam "near" Iraq, perhaps as an alternate to Okinawa for Murtha's over-the-horizon redeployment.

Nicely done, NYT.

Here's part of their correction:

On March 12, three days after the article had gone to press, the Navy called The Times to say that it had found that Ms. Randall had never received imminent-danger pay or a combat-zone tax exemption, indicating that she was never in Iraq. Only part of her unit was sent there; Ms. Randall served with another part of it in Guam. The Navy also said that Ms. Randall was given the medal with the insignia because of a clerical error.

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, but may have become convinced she did. Since the article appeared, Ms. Randall herself has questioned another member of her unit, who told Ms. Randall that she was not deployed to Iraq. If The Times had learned these facts before publication, it would not have included Ms. Randall in the article.

True enough, the Navy did not promptly dispute the story, as it was still investigating. But note how quickly the Times gives it up that the woman is a lunatic who "may have become convinced" she served in Iraq, after proof is offered she was never anywhere near that country.

Are they seriously telling us they had no suspicions she might be an unstable schizophrenic confabulist before this evidence came to light? Now she's a nutbag who so deluded herself that she seemed convincing in telling her story; before, she was a credible source.

Isn't it more likely she was never very credible and that the New York Times shouldn't have put her story forth in the first place? Are New York Times reporters so clueless as to not recognize the symptoms of florid schizophrenia?

Or do they just routinely set aside such doubts in the interests of "storytelling"?


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posted by Ace at 02:10 PM

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