Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, December 24, 2012

Where's The Accountability For The New York Post?

The people running the NY Post are very big on holding teachers accountable for so-called performance, but just can't seem to hold themselves accountable for their own.

Case in point - the interview with a fake "Ryan Lanza" they ran in yesterday's Sunday New York Post:

The brother of the Connecticut school shooter, Adam Lanza, said through a spokesman Sunday that he never conducted a Facebook interview with the New York Post and that any statements or postings attributed to him were fabricated.

“This is a complete hoax,” said the Lanza family in a statement issued through the spokesman, Errol Cockfield of the public relations firm Edelman.

In the story, Ryan Lanza, who works for the major accounting firm Ernst & Young in Manhattan, purportedly told a New York Post reporter in a Facebook chat, “I am a victim. I loss [sic] my mom and brother.”

The spokesman said that Lanza, 24, shut his Facebook account shortly after the shooting and it has not been reactivated. A fake Facebook page that at first glance appeared to be Lanza’s was subsequently created and used to deceive the New York Post reporter. It is not known who orchestrated the deception.

Cockfield described the New York Post story as the “unfortunate result of a poor editorial process.”
The New York Post acknowledged Sunday that it had been deceived. An “update” added to the top of the original story on the newspaper’s Web site read: “A spokesman for the Lanza family says an imposter is behind Ryan Lanza’s Facebook page and that Ryan did not post the messages in this story.”

A spokeswoman for the Post said the paper did not have an immediate comment.

Oh, and of course the Post deflected blame onto the imposter who ran the fake Facebook page rather than their own reporter or editorial process:

An imposter created a fake Facebook page in the name of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza’s brother, a family spokesman said yesterday.

“It appears to be a hoax by someone. Ryan [Lanza] shut down his page shortly after the shooting.

This mock-up is atrocious,” said Errol Cockfield, a spokesman for Ryan and his father, Peter Lanza.

The family will ask Facebook to remove the page, Cockfield added.

The page included images of Adam, Ryan and their mom, Nancy, that had already been published online.

The bogus posts and instant-message chats were reported by news outlets, including The Post.

New York Magazine reports that the "Ryan Lanza" Facebook page looked pretty phony from the outset:

The Facebook page itself looks pretty suspicious: All eight of the eight pages it "likes" have to do with Newtown, and four of them, liked within minutes on the same day, call for Ryan Lanza's name to be cleared. There's no friends list visible, only two photos, and no activity prior to last Thursday. Of course that's just what we're seeing now. The Post's story makes reference to photos and comments not visible, which suggests they're either private or have been taken down since the original report.

The real Ryan Lanza's Facebook page became its own story when he was briefly named as the suspect on the day of the shooting (it turned out Adam was carrying his brother's ID). Lanza used his page to deny the reports, then deleted it. So yeah, it would be possible that he started a new one, but seeing as how he's a regular person with interests and friends and whatnot, and that he's already had to disentangle himself from media attention once, it's hard to believe his new page would focus exclusively on the tragedy and his unfortunate association with it.

Those apparent red flags didn't stop The Post from running the item, and they didn't stop others from picking it up. Yahoo News, The Telegraph, Gothamist, MSN, Huffington Post, The Australian, and others posted the news, then had to update their reports with word of the hoax.

 The Posties are still running the original story on the Post website, albeit with a disclaimer:

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Lanza family says an imposter is behind Ryan Lanza's Facebook page and that Ryan did not post the messages in this story.

Gotta love when some piece of "journalism" is proven to be fraudulent, but the newspaper refuses to take the piece down and instead runs a disclaimer.

Also gotta love how the Post makes it sound as if other journalistic outlets got caught up in the hoax:

 The bogus posts and instant-message chats were reported by news outlets, including The Post.

No - the Post conducted an interview with the fake "Ryan Lanza" and that interview and other information from the Post story got picked up by other news outlets.

That's a whole lot different than a bunch of other news outlets getting caught up in the same hoax.

It isn't the job of the other news outlets to check the news stories of supposed legitimate news organizations like the NY Post for validity.

It is the job of the NY Post reporter to make sure the "Ryan Lanza" he is interviewing is actually Ryan Lanza and the job of the NY Post editors to smell out a hoax when they see it.

Especially if the Facebook page of this "Ryan Lanza" looks suspicious as soon as you see it.

Both the reporter and the editors failed in their jobs, but even worse, they refuse to be held accountable for this and instead are deflecting the blame onto the imposter and then making it sound like other news outlets got caught up in the same hoax.

While it is true that in the hours right after the Newtown shootings, many news outlets reported erroneous information, the only "Ryan Lanza" hoax the other news outlets got caught up today in was reprinting a story from the imposter new outlet called the NY Post.

As usual with the people at a Rupert Murdoch organization, accountability is never for themselves - it's always for other people.


  1. Corporate agenda driven media never fail to pants themselves in the middle of the room then start looking for someone to blame. How pathetic. Surprised they didn't work in a few cheap shots against the teaching profession too while they were at it. Happy Christmas.

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