The New York Times revealed that its 2018 obituary of real estate broker Faith Hope Consolo contained errors because Consolo fabricated part of her biography.
Times reporter Julie Satow explained that after publishing the obituary, she heard from a childhood friend who shared Consolo’s real background. In a 2020 article, Satow reported that Consolo gave the wrong name for her father, her father’s death, her parents’ occupation, her birthplace, where she grew up, and where she went to school. Other details couldn’t be verified, such as Consolo’s claims about her time in California in the 1970s and her two marriages. Satow reported she couldn’t find records for her marriage to Jerome Sidel and noted her stepson was not sure “if they were legally married.”
The 2018 obituary now has an editor’s note reading, “After this obituary was published, The Times learned that substantial portions of Ms. Consolo’s biography were inaccurate. An article exploring how Ms. Consolo hid details of her personal life and upbringing is published here.“
iMediaEthics has written to the Times to ask if it will publish any corrections on reporting on Consolo. Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha told iMediaEthics, “Editors discussed adding corrections but thought it would be clearer for readers to leave the article as it was originally published with the Editors’ Note at the top of the piece that points to the new article.”
The Wall Street Journal added an editor’s note to its obituary for Consolo that reads:
(Editor’s note: A year after the death of Faith Hope Consolo, the New York Times reported that a childhood friend had come forward to say the commercial real-estate broker had invented parts of her life story. As a result, some of the information in her obituaries in The Wall Street Journal and other papers was found to be incorrect, including when her father died and where she grew up. Her father died not in the 1940s, but in 2012. Her birth certificate says her mother lived in Maple Heights, Ohio, when Ms. Consolo was born. The obituary incorrectly reported that her parents lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Ms. Consolo grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. The obituary incorrectly reported that she had grown up in Connecticut. Below is the corrected column.)