[Marxism] Jack Kelley, USA Today and fair reporting

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Tue Mar 23 08:26:53 MST 2004

(...) Perhaps [Jack Kelley's] most famous story, written three years ago and
which almost won him a Pulitzer, provided riveting and gory details of a
late summer suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizza parlor. Kelley claimed
among other things that he had bumped into the bomber face-to-face just
minutes before the blast, recognized him from later viewing his decapitated
head and noseless, lipless face on the floor, and that he also had witnessed
from 90 feet away three other heads separated from their bodies rolling down
the street "with their eyes still blinking." Israel's national police say
the actual bomber's head and upper torso flew into the ceiling at the blast
and got stuck in an oven vent. At least USA Today editors caught the "eyes
still blinking" assertion in the rough copy and excised it.

Which brings up a key point -- one that indicates USA Today editors should
not emerge unscathed in all this. (...)

The newspaper's founder called for "journalists at all levels to ban all
anonymous sources." Gannett came close to doing that four years ago in a
formal code of ethics called "Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms."
I was on the committee that put it together after the company was
embarrassed by a costly scandal at its Cincinnati Enquirer paper in which an
investigative reporter wrote and had published all sorts of alleged
corporate misbehavior at Chiquita Brands International and attributed much
of it to an anonymous source -- instead of the illegally taped conversations
he had secretly recorded. A key segment of these Gannett "Principles of
Ethical Conduct" states: "The use of unnamed sources in published stories
should be rare and only for important news." (...)

John Hanchette is a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University, and
a 1980 Pulitzer Prize winner who covered politics, government, Capitol Hill,
and the White House for Gannett News Service.
Complete text at:

According to the [Census Bureau] bureau, there are at least 100 million
women in the world's developing countries who would like to space or limit
their pregnancies but are not using contraception.


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