Gawker’s Condé Nast controversy joins a growing list of spectacular media fails
Kathy Zerbib | July 27, 2015 @ 10:34 AM
Last Updated: March 12, 2016 @ 9:44 PM
The Washington Post's Fabricated Heroin Child Addict
Janet Cooke, who falsely claimed a master's degree from the University of Toledo, wrote a profile in 1980 for the Washington Post on an 8-year-old heroin addict. The story went viral and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. Two days after winning, the Post admitted the story had been fabricated and she resigned.
The New York Times' Trail of Plagiarism
Jayson Blair worked as a journalist for the New York Times before resigning in May 2003 when his editor questioned him about similarities between his work and that of other journalists. Blair later told "Talk of the Nation" that his bad habit started when he grabbed a quote from a press conference that he had not attended.
Also Read:Jayson Blair to Give Speech to Journalism Ethics Institute
Don Imus' "Nappy-Headed Hoes" Slur
CBS fired Don Imus in April 2007 for using racial slurs on his radio program, during which he referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hoes." Opponents protested the show, sponsors pulled advertising and the show was canceled a week later.
New York Post's Falsely Portrayed "Bag Men"
Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi were misidentified as the Boston Marathon bombers by the New York Post in April 2013. The publication printed a photo of the men on its front page with the damning headline "Bag Men." They later sued for libel, invasion of privacy and emotional distress.
CBS' Discredited "60 Minutes" on Benghazi
"60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan and her producer were asked to take a leave of absence after it was revealed her October 2013 report on Benghazi was flawed. Her eyewitness volunteered information to "60 Minutes" about an attack that differed from the version he told the FBI. She returned six months later.
Also Read:CBS News’ Lara Logan Back in Hospital
Rolling Stone's Erroneous "A Rape on Campus" Story
Sabrina Rubin Erdely published a story in the Dec. 2014 issue of Rolling Stone that claimed several fraternity members at the University of Virginia raped a woman named "Jackie" during a chapter house party. The story was discredited after other journalists noticed discrepancies in Jackie's story, and Rolling Stone retracted it in Apr. 2015.
Brian Williams' Exaggerated Iraq Experience
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams Tells Matt Lauer Suspension Was ‘Torture,’ But ‘Absolutely Necessary’ (Video)" href="https://www.thewrap.com/brian-williams-tells-matt-lauer-suspension-was-torture-video/">Brian Williams admitted in Feb. 2015 that he exaggerated his experience aboard a helicopter that was struck by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Williams was suspended by the network and will return as Brian Williams Demoted to MSNBC Breaking News Anchor" href="https://www.thewrap.com/brian-williams-demoted-to-msnbc-breaking-news-anchor/">a breaking news anchor for MSNBC in August.
Also Read:Insiders: Brian Williams Stumps MSNBC as Executives Debate Anchor’s Role (Exclusive)
ESPN Reporter's Run-In with Towing Company
ESPN reporter Britt McHenry was suspended for a week in Apr. 2015 after a video in which she berates a towing company employee went viral and received heavy public backlash.