Monday, March 17, 2008

Because I'm Alkie For Seltzer:

The NYTimes On Why They Were Fooled, And What They're Doing To Make Sure That It Never Happens Again

Fooled Again
by Clark Holt
March 16, 2008

With a few computer keystrokes last week at my request, Jack Begg, the supervisor of newsroom research at The Times, showed me that there was no record of a Margaret B. Jones in Eugene, Ore. With a few more keystrokes, he brought up property records showing that the house Jones said she owned was bought by Margaret Seltzer and another person in 2000 and now belongs to Stuart and Gay Seltzer after an “intrafamily transaction.”
All of this should have been a huge red flag about Margaret B. Jones, the author of a memoir in which she said she was abused, taken from her family at age 5 and shuttled between foster homes for three years before winding up in a world of gangs, violence and drugs in South-Central Los Angeles.
The book, “Love and Consequences,” was a fake, and had Begg been asked to do five minutes of checking in readily available public records, or had reporters and editors done it themselves before the newspaper bit, The Times could have been spared the embarrassment of falling for yet another too-good-to-be-true memoir from a publishing industry unwilling to accept responsibility for separating fact from fiction.

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