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The Boston Globe issued an apology today for publishing bogus images of GI gang-rapes that originated from a pornographic website.
The photographs – uncovered by WorldNetDaily as fodder for Arab propaganda – accompanied an article in the Boston paper about local city councilor Chuck Turner, who distributed the graphic pictures Tuesday at a press conference with activist Sadiki Kambon.
Turner told reporters the photos showed U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi women, asserting, “The American people have a right and responsibility to see the pictures.”
The Globe’s statement today, listed as an “editor’s note,” merely says the photographs failed to meet “Globe standards” and had not been authenticated.
The paper chose not to inform readers its editorial department has known for the past 24 hours the photos were fake images taken from the pornographic website “Sex in War.” In fact, WND revealed the true source of the photos at the request of the Globe via e-mail, and Globe reporter Donovan Slack indicated yesterday both of her editors, as well as the president of the Globe’s parent New York Times Co., were aware of the controversy.
Today’s editor’s note also fails to address the main issue of the validity of the rape allegations, which formed the crux of the press conference and the impetus for the story. The Globe did not confirm or deny the legitimacy of the images or the allegations prior to publication.
Reporter Donovan Slack said yesterday, “It’s insane, I’m surprised the editor even decided we should write about it.”
The rival Boston Herald published a story today with the headline, “Globe caught with pants down: Paper duped into running porn photos.”
The Herald, which quoted from WorldNetDaily’s story yesterday, said it covered Turner’s news conference, along with a number of news outlets, including the Associated Press, but “did not run a story after determining the photos were highly suspicious.”
A simple Google news search using the terms “Iraq rape photos” would have shown the photos were fake, and the story was groundless. Specifically, the search would have retrieved WND’s series on the photos as well as a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo one day after WND’s May 5 expose, confirming the photos were fake and demanding that Arab newspapers that had carried the photos publish retractions.
In addition, WND’s expose of the photos was mentioned at Monday’s White House press briefing.
The Globe included the photos in two print editions, which apparently undermines the statement made by Globe ombudsman Christine Chinlund that the publication of the photos was a “lamentable mistake” and due to “miscommunication between photo staffers, and a collapse of the usual ‘checks and balances’ system.”
As the Herald reported, the pictures “showed hard-core sex acts and genitalia. …In a large shot in the paper’s early editions, pornographic details are clearly visible. In later editions, the photograph was reduced, making the images slightly more obscure.”
Below is the full text of the Globe’s published notice:
Editor’s Note: A photograph on Page B2 yesterday did not meet Globe standards for publication. The photo portrayed Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and activist Sadiki Kambon displaying graphic photographs that they claimed showed U.S. soldiers raping Iraqi women. Although the photograph was reduced in size between editions to obscure visibility of the images on display, at no time did the photograph meet Globe standards. Images contained in the photograph were overly graphic, and the purported abuse portrayed had not been authenticated. The Globe apologizes for publishing the photo.