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September 14, 2007

Another Journalist caught making stuff up, apparently inspired by President Bush (chad)

Updated and titled edited:According to the the commenters at NY Times The Lede blog it's all Bush's fault. His stealing of the 2000 election inspired Debat. Seriously I'm not making this up.

Alexis Debat, formerly of ABC News, resigned from the Nixon Center this week after being caught making up interviews with Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and a host of others according to the AP

The editor of Politique Internationale when questioned about the interviews responded:

He called Debat "a grand liar" and said he had hired a lawyer to pursue "all possible measures" against him.

"We are the first victims. I am falling from the moon," he told The AP. "We were betrayed."

He noted that Debat worked for the journal for four years, starting after he was already working for ABC and the Nixon Center. "How could we possibly doubt someone who worked for ABC, who worked for the Nixon Center? How could we possibly doubt someone from several thousand kilometers away?" he asked.

The fact that he was fired by ABC for lying about having a PhD from the Sorbonne might have been a hint.


It gets better though. Recently the Times of London published a story that the US military had plans for a three day blitz on Iran that would wipe out the Iranian military. The source?

Debat.

In April "ABC News' the Blotter" published a piece that alleged that the US government was supporting a terrorist organization that was staging attacks from Pakistan in Iran. This was angrily denied by the Pakistani government. The source?

Debat.

Last year "ABC News' The Blotter" reported that a Pakistani General had suggested they would not pursue Osama bin Laden as long as he didn't cause trouble in Pakistan. The source?

Debat.

According to Mother Jones questions have been raised by some ABC staffers about Debat's credibility for some time:

Interviews with journalists, think tank associates, and a former government official indicate that there were warning signs about Debat for years—even within the network itself. Two journalists familiar with Debat's work point to ABC chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross not only as the victim of Debat's alleged deceptions, but as an enabler, who has promoted sensational stories—including some that Debat brought the network—at the expense at times of rigorous journalism standards. (Ross did not return Mother Jones' phone call by press time, although an ABC executive has been in touch by phone and email.) They also say that they do not believe ABC has properly investigated Debat's reporting at all.

The two key questions to ask ABC, one source familiar with Ross' unit who asked to speak on background, are: "How is ABC investigating the information: Is it only being investigated by the Ross unit, or are outside reporters doing it? And in vetting or second-sourcing information brought to the network [by Debat], were resources outside of the Ross unit used?" Sources, and the AP reported late Thursday that ABC was sending long time Ross producer Rhonda Schwartz to Pakistan to investigate some of Debat's stories.

Overall, the picture of Debat that emerges from these interviews is of a smart, ambitious and cunning operator who would claim to be getting text messages from Middle Eastern intelligence operatives while at meetings with Ross and others at ABC, with tips that seemed too good to be true (which some colleagues believe were bogus), yet were used as "exclusives."

Sources provided multiple examples of stories that Ross—often with Debat's contributions—reported, only to be forced to run a correction the next day. For instance, one source noted, on September 5 last year, Ross reported that a Pakistani general had said that Pakistan would leave Osama bin Laden alone as long as he didn't cause any trouble. The Pakistani government angrily denied it, and the next day the ABC investigative unit's blog, the Blotter ran a correction.

Another ABC news story largely sourced to Debat – claiming that the U.S. government was advising and encouraging an Iranian Baluchi separatist group Jundullah which was carrying out attacks against the Iranian regime – was followed by an ABC report the next day carrying a "sharply-worded" denunciation from the Pakistani government.

I have the feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at this guys wikipedia entry, he gets around. (sorry the link tool seems to be broken I can't insert the wikipedia link).

digg this
posted by xgenghisx at 03:01 PM

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