Guardian writer fabricated his stories

The Guardian is blatantly biased – but that’s perfectly OK. They tend to be quite selective in choosing which stories to report and which to ignore and that, too, is perfectly OK, since they make no secret of the agendas they pursue. Their opinion pieces nearly always cherry pick information to suit their point of view and I have no problem with that. Their spelling mistakes are legendary (perhaps they need to have an Indian-American with the spelling bee gene as a spell checker). But they do not make up the “facts” they do report.

Except, it seems, they sometimes do.

The Guardian has retracted 13 articles by a freelance writer Joseph Mayton who has been writing for them since 2009. They have also deleted extracts from his other articles which could not be verified. Mayton denies he has fabricated his stories – but his protests which claim unprofessionalism as a defence – are not very convincing.

Guardian Retractions

Guardian editor Lee Glendinning writes:

…. we acted immediately to investigate when sources claimed that they had not spoken with the writer of the piece they were quoted in.

The article in question, from February, was by a freelance journalist, Joseph Mayton, who began writing opinion pieces for the Guardian in London in 2009, while based in Egypt. He contributed several opinion pieces before starting to write occasional US news stories, on a freelance basis, in May 2015 from California. These stories ranged from coverage of wildfires to issues related to marijuana farms, urban vineyards and whale deaths on the coast.

When Mayton was unable to provide convincing evidence that the interviews in question in the February article had taken place, we hired an independent fact-checker to investigate all of his prior work, which comprised 37 single-byline articles published between 2015 and 2016, seven shared byline stories from the same period, and 20 opinion pieces written from 2009 to 2015.

In an investigation that included approximately 50 interviews, our fact-checker found articles that contained likely or confirmed fabrication, including stories about two events that organizers said he didn’t attend. Dozens of sources could not be found – either they had no online presence or they were anonymous and could not be substantiated – and several people quoted in Mayton’s articles either denied speaking with him or giving the quotes attributed to them. …..

….. In light of the extent of the fabrication and the uncertainty surrounding many of the articles, we are removing 12 of the news stories, and one opinion piece from the Guardian website. In the articles that remain, quotes and information that could not be verified have been removed, and we have published footnotes on each article page to outline this. There were other stories which proved accurate, with no corrections needed, and have been left as is.

I use The Guardian as one of my key benchmarks for liberal-left opinions. I don’t expect objectivity from them and I hardly ever agree with their viewpoint but I do rely on their veracity.

And so I am very glad to see them take this action to protect, at least, their reputation for accuracy in the facts they do report.

h/t – Retraction Watch


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