Hacks getting caught

Franco Alemán over at HispaLibertas has very kindly passed on this article. In it Chicago Tribune ombudsman Don Wycliff tells the sorry tale of how, following an alert from Tim Blair, they had to get rid of Uli Schmetzer. Schmetzer had been with the paper for 20 years, but when he was caught fabricating an interview it took his employers a couple of days to get rid of him.

Wait a minute, you say, wasn’t a complaint sent to La Vanguardia’s ombudsman almost a year ago accusing Rafael Ramos of much worse? And wasn’t he caught red-handed again recently? Does the fact that he’s still in a job mean that neither press nor public here care about that kind of thing?

Well, it seems that Mr Alemán has written to LV’s ombudsman, Josep Maria Casasús, with news of Mr Schmetzer in order to pose that very question. If the answer from LV is that yes, honesty is important in journalism, then Ramos and Casasús will both have to go.

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  1. I’d be very surprised if Casasús replies; since he jumped the shark accusing you, John and me of being ‘foreign intelligence agents’ in his Sunday column, he doesn’t even aknowledge receiving the messages as he used to do. Of course he didn’t act on them, but at least he used to say ‘thanks for the message, I will investigate’. Now, not even that.

  2. Huh?

    it’s a matter of abdicating his responsibilities, that’s all. and failing to see that in the Internet era, you simply can’t avoid to see it as what it is, the ultimate fact checker.

    Aknowledging receiving a message would be a tertiary issue if only he did something about the issues raised in them. His lack of response simply means that he’s gone further down one more step: before, he didn’t do anything but at least pretended he was investigating. After his gratuitous smear (he sounded like the Reader’s Prosecutor, rather than the Reader’s Advocate as his title indicates), he not only failed to do anything: he simply ignored the messages.

    To his own and his newspaper’s peril, of course; sooner or later, the issues will be impossible to avoid.

  3. I think young Geoffrey was trying to make a joke. Unfortunately he’s not as funny as the rest of us.

    You’re completely right, and LV will go down the drain as soon as some professional organisation moves in, like … erm … News International.

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