For the love of fact-checking!
On April Fool’s, UK website Independent Catholic News published an item, complete with hilarious photo (at right), about a hawk enlisted by the Vatican to help tend to aviary security matters. On April 15, per a summary of this sorry trail by iMediaEthics managing editor Sydney Smith, The Guardian replaced its pick-up with this note:
An agency story about the Vatican recruiting a hawk to protect the Pope’s doves was deleted on the 15 April 2014 because it was discovered to have been an April fools’ joke.
As the crow flies, or any other trajectory, it’s a long way from Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden NSA scoops. Per Smith, other major outlets fooled were said agency, AFP, and the Washington Times.
ICN founder Josephine Seidlecka told Smith that none of the above outlets checked with her to verify the item. Additionally, she says, all missed a deliberate photo-caption, wrong-geo clue that something was amiss here (“Swiss”).
[Screen grab via: indcatholicnews.com]