Below, see the ten most read stories on iMediaEthics from 2015.
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10 . The Post-Courier, a newspaper in Papua New Guinea, used 2012 photos from Nigeria with a 2015 story about events in Papua New Guinea, but readers noticed and flagged the faulty photo use. The photos really showed a group of young Asian girls reportedly arrested for prostitution in Nigeria but the Post-Courier wrongly labeled them as sex workers in Papua New Guinea. [Old Nigerian photo used with current Papua New Guinea story]
9. The San Bernardino shooters didn’t say anything about Gamergate during the December attacks. But, the Associated Press was duped by a phony witness to the shootings who linked the attack to the online movement Gamergate. The Associated Press retracted that interview. [AP duped by San Bernardino Gamergate Claim]
8. Who used photos of the dead Syrian child? iMediaEthics’ round-up of news outlets that used images of Aylan (or Alan) Kurdi, the young Syrian boy whose dead body was pictured dramatically washed up on a beach in Turkey this summer earned the eighth spot this year. [Syrian Toddler Death Images]
7. Yahoo News unpublished after accidentally publishing a pre-written article about Rihanna’s forthcoming new album Anti. The article, from news site Mic, wasn’t finished and included sections for text to be inserted after the album was released. [Rihanna Anti Album]
6. iMediaEthics’ commentary criticizing the New York Daily News for its insensitive use of graphic still images of the murder of Virginia TV journalist Alison Parker made the #6 spot on our list this year. The Daily News plastered three images from a video tape made by Parker’s murderer of his attack on its front page after her death. [Alison Parker Commentary]
5. The New York Daily News briefly published photos of Justin Bieber naked on vacation in Bora Bora. After a cease and desist, the Daily News covered up the photos, replacing the nude images with censored pictures. [Naked Bieber gets Covered up]
4. Mossad behind Charlie Hebdo? The International Business Times unpublished a story that falsely linked Israeli intelligence, Mossad, to the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris this January. The IB Times article claimed Mossad was behind the fatal attack. [Mossad Charlie Hebdo]
3. Australia’s Australian Broadcasting Corp. was duped this spring by a comedian who claimed to be dating his stepsister. Responding to the outlet’s call for stories about step-love, Lewis Spears, who a quick Google search indicates is a comedian, tricked the ABC into airing his fake comments. [Dating Stepsister OK?]
2. USA Today was duped by this April Fool’s Day prank that came a few days early. The national daily newspaper fell for a press release touting the selfie shoes, supposedly on sale April 2, which would allow owners to take a selfie by putting their phones in a phone dock on their shoes. [Selfie shoes, coming to a store near you?]
1. After days of waiting, Mike LaCour responded to the serious questions raised about his same-sex marriage study. which was retracted by Science after accusations of fabrication and misrepresentation. The study claimed that people’s attitudes toward same-sex marriage changed after interacting with people who are gay. Our report on his lengthy response, which LaCour e-mailed iMediaEthics, was our most read story of the year. [Mike LaCour Responds]