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Monday, August 3, 2009

Newspaper Apologizes for Inventing a Scandal

The New York Times - OTTAWA — “It’s a Scandal,” an exceptionally large front-page headline in The Saint John Telegraph-Journal proclaimed last month above an article about what the prime minister of Canada did, or did not, do with a communion wafer.

Last week, the wafer issue resurfaced on the front page of the newspaper. But this time as more of an embarrassment. In a lengthy correction, the New Brunswick newspaper said that “there was no credible support” for the article’s claim that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had pocketed the wafer during the funeral of a former governor-general or that a Roman Catholic priest was demanding an explanation from his office.

Unusually, the newspaper apologized not just to Mr. Harper but also to the two reporters whose names appeared on the article, adding that the errors were introduced “in the editing process” and were included “without the knowledge ofthe reporters and without any credible support for them.”

The fallout did not stop there. Shortly after the article appeared, the publisher, a member of New Brunswick’s most powerful family whose holdings include The Telegraph-Journal, and the newspaper’s editor were removed from their jobs.

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