NY Post Errs in FDNY Christmas Tree Story

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The New York Post's original headline incorrectly reported that Mahopac is in NJ, not NY. The error of fact suggested a firefighter was breaking FDNY rules. See the corrected headline (top) and the original headline, republished on India Times (below). (Credit: NYPOST, India Times, [highlighting added])

The New York Post’s headline and Nov. 11 story on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has apparently been corrected – but without transparency.

The story reports that New York City firefighter Peter Acton donated his tree to be the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

By searching “FDNY Christmas Tree NYPOST” on Google, one can see the original headline reads: “NJ Tree Owned by FDNY Vet to be displayed at Rockefeller Center.”

However, the headline now reads “Upstate tree owned by FDNY vet to be displayed at Rockefeller Center” and explains that Peter Acton lives in Mahopac, NY and is a “12-year FDNY veteran.”

Throughout the article, the Post called Mahopac a New Jersey city.

The Post offers no explanation for why the headline has been changed to say the tree is from “NJ” to the tree is from upstate New York.

fdny story

A Google search of “FDNY Christmas Tree NYPost” produces the original headline for the story. (Credit: Google)

A quick read of the comments section on that story indicates that the story once claimed that the tree’s owner, Acton, a “12-year FDNY veteran,” lives in New Jersey.  Not only is that not true — Acton reportedly lives in upstate NY, but also that would be against FDNY rules.

iMediaEthics read the original story in print and saw that the Post incorrectly reported that Mahopac was in New Jersey and therefore the FDNY’s Acton didn’t live in New York.  That reporting could have resulted in Acton being put under investigation.

Some of the comments still on the story also indicate the changes to the story.  “Band1059” wrote that “The Post should correct this article about the town being in NJ so as to not cause this guy grief.”

Likewise, “lou_bx67” commented “There IS NO Mahopac, NJ. There IS, however, a Mahopac, NY.”

As the New York City Fire Department’s website explains, one doesn’t have to live in New York City’s five boroughs to be an FDNY firefighter. But, “you must live in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Nassau or Suffolk County”

iMediaEthics has written to the New York Post asking if it will post a transparent correction to its story. We will update with any response.

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NY Post Errs in FDNY Christmas Tree Story

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