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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 05:46 am
The Age reports:
While not quite as damaging as Jayson Blair, the reporter who brought scandal to The New York Times in 2003 for his fabricated stories, Guardian rookie foreign correspondent Benjamin Joffe-Walt managed to tarnish the credibility of the respected British broadsheet for his embellished story about a Chinese democracy activist. Turns out the newspaper’s recently installed Shanghai correspondent exaggerated his first-hand account of Lu Banglie’s savage beating by a uniformed mob outside Taishi village in southern Guangdong province, which ran on the front page of The Guardian and was picked up in other newspapers across the globe, including The Age.
Joffe-Walt, who had been travelling in a taxi with Lu and an interpreter, reported that Lu’s head had been stomped on several times, “his eye (lay) out of its socket”, and the ligaments in his neck were broken. When it later emerged that he did not sustain any serious injuries except some bruising, The Guardian recalled Joffe-Walt to London for a “please explain”, issued a retraction and, after some investigation, discovered that their correspondent’s journalism credentials amounted to not much more than a six-month stint on a defunct South African newspaper.
They really should learn a little more about their employees before hiring them. Remember Dilpazier Aslam, fired by The Guardian after Scott Burgess exposed him as a member of extremist Islamic group Hizb ut Tahrir? Aslam’s editors had been unaware of this—although it was easily available to anyone capable of running a Google search.
(Note to The Age: the, er, respected Guardian ceased to be a broadsheet last month.)