The Intercept’s June 2015 story was based on an interview with Roof’s cousin Scott Roof. Problem is, Roof’s family says Roof doesn’t have a cousin named Scott, so The Intercept retracted its story, written by Juan Thompson.
iMediaEthics checked to see how far the claims about Roof and the alleged Scott Roof interview spread. We found at least seven sites reported on the alleged Scott Roof interview. The Intercept said it would contact news outlets who picked up fabrications from its now-fired reporter Juan Thompson.
Two news outlets, the Mirror and Mail, have apparently deleted their stories based on The Intercept claims as of 9 PM EST on Feb. 2. By Feb. 3 mid-day, Alternet and Radar Online’s stories were gone.
The New York Daily News was the quickest to respond to The Intercept retraction, iMediaEthics notes. It has tacked on its own editor’s note about The Intercept retraction, which reads:
“Editor’s Note: This story was retracted by The Intercept on Feb. 2, 2016 after they spoke to two family members who said they were not aware of the relative, Scott Roof.”
NY Magazine posted a correction:
“Correction: A previous version of this story noted that a man claiming to be Roof’s cousin said that he “kind of went over the edge when a girl he liked starting dating a black guy two years back.” The Intercept hasretracted that story, which reflected a “pattern of misattributed quotes” in stories written by former staff reporter Juan Thompson.”
The Independent added this note:
“Editor’s note: This story previously cited false reporting from The Intercept. The piece has since been retracted.”
Below, see outlets that covered the Roof claims.
- The UK Independent: “Charleston shooting: From ‘liking a woman who dated a black man’ to a ‘fan of white power music’ – insight into Dylann Roof’s life emerges”
- The UK Mirror: “Charleston church shooting: Dylann Roof ‘went over the edge’ after love interest spurned him for black man”
- The UK Mail: “Was Dylann Roof driven to racist murder by a GIRL? Cousin of Charleston massacre suspect says he ‘went over the edge’ when unrequited love interest ‘started dating a black man'”
- NY Daily News: “Dylann Roof ‘kind of went over the edge’ when love interest who spurned him chose African-American guy: report”
- Alternet “Dylann Roof’s Cousin: Being Spurned by a Girl for a Black Guy Sent Roof ‘Over the Edge’“
- Radar Online “Mr. Sensitive: Dylann Roof’s Cousin Says Black Man Stole His Girl — Ignited His Racism“
- New York Magazine: “What We Know About Charleston Gunman Dylann Storm Roof”
The Intercept’s retraction read:
“After speaking with two members of Dylann Roof’s family, The Intercept can no longer stand by the premise of this story. Both individuals said that they do not know of a cousin named Scott Roof.
“The problems with this story reflect a pattern of misattributed quotes that The Intercept uncovered in stories written by Juan Thompson, a former staff reporter. We apologize to our readers.”
UPDATE: 2/2/2016 9:01 PM EST It appears the Mirror and Mail have unpublished their stories as links to their articles now go to error pages.