New York Times conned by Prank Emailer

And just who is editing the NY Times these days?  Are the editors so concerned about the finances of their paper that they've completely forgotten the basics of journalism? It sure does seem that way.
The NY Times received a juicy e mail and rushed it into print, scoring a scoop, before checking its accuracy.  Huh?  Indeed, the e mail was so juicy that it would have aroused the suspicions of any halfway alert high school newspaper editor.  Well the paper scooped itself.
The e mail letter was from Bertrand Delanoe, mayor of Paris, bemoaning the choice of an unqualified Caroline Kennedy for New York State Senator.  

Except it was not from Mayor Delanoe.  It was a fake!  And the gullible NY Times believed it!
Earlier this morning, we posted a letter that carried the name of Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, sharply criticizing Caroline Kennedy.
This letter was a fake. It should not have been published.

Doing so violated both our standards and our procedures in publishing signed letters from our readers.

We have already expressed our regrets to Mr. Delanoë's office and we are now doing the same to you, our readers.

This letter, like most Letters to the Editor these days, arrived by email. It is Times procedure to verify the authenticity of every letter. In this case, our staff sent an edited version of the letter to the sender of the email and did not hear back. At that point, we should have contacted Mr. Delanoë's office to verify that he had, in fact, written to us.

We did not do that. Without that verification, the letter should never have been printed.

We are reviewing our procedures for verifying letters to avoid such an incident in the future.

One should certainly hope so.  Didn't any alarms ring; were no questions asked?  Did the NY Times editor actually believe the paper is so important that the mayor of Paris, no less, would make a public statement of that nature through their very own paper rather than proper diplomatic channels?  Did they actually think a Parisian mayor, no matter his opinion on that subject, would actually take time from his schedule to focus on the matter of a New York senator?  Don't the NY Times editors understand that for a Parisian, NY is not the center of the universe; they erroneously believe it is Paris and the Americans are hopeless anyway?  Or did the letter verify the NY Times' editors own (unsaid) thoughts?
Perhaps the NY Times will recall its crack reporters still trying to dig up some dirt on Governor Sarah Palin (R) in Alaska and Senator John McCain (R) in Arizona and set them to work digging up some facts about the NY Times.  And then they'd finally have some news that's fit to print.


The use of the term "pwned" is widespread on the internet and not only on blogs. The definition
is here. 

Here's more on its common usage.