WaPo whopper dissected

Becket Adams highlights for the Washington Examiner a piece of amazingly bad journalism from one of the nation’s leading mainstream media outlets.

It is painful reading all the corrections added to a July 23 Washington Post article about black families and southern farmland. But one cannot help but stare at a train wreck.

And the article, titled “Black families once lived off their southern farmland. Their descendants are struggling to hold onto it,” is certainly a glorious train wreck. It contains 15 separate corrections. The list of errors is almost as long as the article itself, clocking in at an impressive 579 words.

The very first thing the reader sees when he goes to the article are the following lines: “Corrections: A previous version of this article contained many errors and omitted context and allegations important to understanding two families’ stories. This version has been updated.”

The Washington Post then goes into excruciating detail listing off every one of the original article’s inaccuracies and errors. …

… Kudos to the newspaper for being so thorough and forthright in tackling the many, many problems in Wilson’s article. But it is hard not to wonder: … How did this happen in the first place? How did such a disaster get through the Washington Post gatekeepers?

The “Democracy Dies in Darkness” newsroom is not interested in discussing the matter.

Executive editor Martin Baron said in a boilerplate statement provided to the Washington Examiner: “We are embarrassed by the widespread errors in this freelance article. We have published a detailed correction of each error and updated the story based on re-reporting by Post staff.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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