The public deserves better than the illusion of exactness. The numbers of dead and all other facts—except the names of indigenous peoples—Diamond tells Balter are unverified.
Mako John Kuwimb who is both a Handa and Ombal, a lawyer and a PhD candidate in law at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia, sent Diamond and The New Yorker a detailed, 26-page report in response to the factual errors as well as the actual history of the sole Handa and Ombal dispute in 1993.
Bent but unbowed, Diamond bravely told Science magazine “that he still considers Wemp’s original account to be the most reliable source for what happened” even after Wemp and Kuwimb have informed him that all his facts are wrong except for people’s names.
Surely the public, the scientific and the UCLA community deserve better, and the tribes and tribesmen deserve retractions and apologies from Diamond and The New Yorker.
UPDATED 05/18/09: 10:51pm
UPDATED 05/20/09: 10:12am — Check out this blog post by a journalist who outlines the basic journalism standards he learned in J-School. Go to this very helpful context –what the blogger, Jeremy Porter, calls ” tried and true principles of journalism” for judging Diamond’s claim that he adhered to good journalism practice