Now that lying author Margaret Seltzer has made the New York Times look like useful idiots for printing a fawning profile of her in which she spouted her stock lies about her ties to the hood, the paper is pushing for some changes. Standards Editor Craig Whitney emails the newsroom today that they shouldn't run any more single-source profiles of people who aren't well known, because they could turn out to be lying schmucks like Margaret Seltzer and make the paper look stupid all over again. Makes sense. Points to the Times for doing some kinda thing, at least! The full internal email, reprinted below.
To the newsroom staff:
Single-source profiles of people who are not already well known quantities are traps we have fallen into twice in the past year or two, and that's too often. Until publishers start fact-checking their own nonfiction books, and that'll be the day, we should remember that profiles of unknown authors should always include reporting from other sources — not just surrogates of the profilee like agents, publishers, lawyers, etc. — to verifiy the most important facts. But even when there's no book involved, the same rule applies. If we can't find ways to check key facts, names, graduation claims, etc., we should hold the story until we can verify them, and if we can't, we should be suspicious. Live and learn....