NPR Pressed to Correct False Rape-and-Pregnancy Story by Daily Beast Boss Tina Brown

Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple recalled Daily Beast boss Tina Brown hate-tweeting her former Washington bureau chief Howard Kurtz: “am I forgetting something or didn’t I fire you for serial inaccuracy?”

“That was a bit of classlessness that simply wasn’t going to go unpunished,” Wemple wrote. “And now the journalism gods have spoken, via a correction that is available on NPR.” On a Thursday interview on Morning Edition, Brown made a very dramatic error, falsely claiming a pregnancy by rape of a journalist in Somalia, as anchor Renee Montagne announced on Friday's show:

In my conversation with Tina Brown yesterday, we discussed a New York Times Magazine cover story co-written by journalist Amanda Lindhout, who was kidnapped in Somalia and held for ransom for 15 months. Tina Brown told us that Lindhout gave birth as a result of being raped while in captivity. According to Lindhout herself, it is not true that she had a child. She dispels the rumor in writing about her experiences in captivity in her book, “A House in the Sky.”

"It convicts Brown of the same offense — insufficiently careful reading — that got Kurtz in trouble," Wemple concluded. In Kurtz's case, however, he missed something that openly gay NBA player Jayson Collins wrote. Brown asserted a rumor that the reporter says she dispelled in her book.

There’s also an editor's note on the original transcript, but the offending claim is removed from both the transcript and the audio, so a critic can’t see how exactly Brown made this false claim.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis