Thursday, January 11, 2007

Telegraph man makes up Saddam's hanging

An astonishing confession on one of the Telegraph's blogs today. United States editor Tony Harnden reveals that his report on Saddam Hussein's hanging was largely made up. He actually wrote his report before the tyrant dangled because he had to meet his London deadline. Then reality caught him out. Tunbridge Wells is outraged. Here's an extract and the link:

"You're right that writing about Saddam's hanging before it happened was not my finest hour. It was one of those tricky journalistic challenges when no matter how much you hedge and speculate, the reality will always mischievously diverge from the finely-turned piece one filed."

5 comments:

fanny hill said...

If I were Saddam, I should sue him from the other world !

Susan Hill said...

This is not a grey area, morally speaking - novelists make things up. Journalists do not.

Arcati said...

The Telegraph has now removed the link (as I write). The freedom of the press ends where press interests get compromised.

Anonymous said...

The link to Saddam has been deleted too. Human rights and democratic ideals end when strategic interests get compromised... :-)

fitzroy cyclonic said...

Evelyn Waugh has a memorable passage in his account of the coronation of Haile Selassie (available collected in his travel writings) he writes that because of the time it took for news to travel from Addis Ababa to America and England, all the correspondants had to write their account of it before it had happened - he cites some amusingly imaginative and wildly divergent examples.

In the internet age, you suspect there is no excuse - still at least the practice has a good pedigree.