Sydney Morning Herald published unverified anecdote - iMediaEthics

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Fairfax Media, which publishes the Sydney Morning Herald, admitted it published an unverified story about then-Australian Broadcasting Corp. managing director David Hill and then-Treasurer Paul Keating (who served as Prime Minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996).

The article by Jacqueline Maley reported, “Former Fairfax journalist Alan Ramsay once reported a meeting between Mr Hill and then-treasurer Paul Keating in the 1980s, at which Mr Keating allegedly told Mr Hill: ‘We’ve had enough of you c—s, we’ve f—ed Fairfax, now it’s your turn.’ Mr Hill would not confirm or deny the account.”

iMediaEthics wrote to Fairfax to ask how the error occurred, how it learned of the mistake, which publications printed the article in question, if the note was considered a retraction and if it was published in print, and if the anecdote was previously  Fairfax spokesperson Brad Hatch told iMediaEthics, “We won’t be making further comment beyond the apology, which we believe is self explanatory.”

In the note atop its June 22 article, the Sydney Morning Herald said, in full:

“NOTE: an earlier version of this article recounted a story of a meeting in the 1980s between then ABC managing director David Hill and then Treasurer Paul Keating. Neither Mr Hill nor Mr Keating have ever verified the story. As noted in the story, Mr Hill would not confirm the account of the story. Fairfax’s journalist did not contact Mr Keating, who has since confirmed that the story is unequivocally false. Mr Keating is concerned that the retelling of the story would have been understood by readers to mean that he had threatened to destroy the ABC for his own political purposes and had bullied Mr Hill to force the ABC to follow his own political agenda. The article was not intended to be understood in this way, and to the extent it was so understood, the Herald withdraws those suggestions. The Herald apologises to Mr Keating for any hurt or embarrassment caused.”

Hat Tip: Crikey

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Sydney Morning Herald published unverified anecdote

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