If you missed Mark Hemingway’s piece on the New York Times Magazine yesterday, you missed a few bombshells:
Two weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine’s cover story told the tale of six-year Navy veteran, Amorita Randall. Randall told Sara Corbett, a contributing writer for the Magazine, that she had been raped twice in the Navy, and that while stationed in Iraq in 2004 she was the victim of an improvised explosive device attack that left her with a brain injury.
The trouble is that according to an editor’s note in this past Sunday’s Times Magazine, Navy records report that in 2004 Randall was in Guam, not Iraq. And, by the way, she was never in Iraq. Further, there are no records that back up Randall’s claims she was raped. While lots of traumatized women don’t report rapes, unfortunately her claim that she was in Iraq certainly casts doubt on everything Randall says.
For their part, according to an article in the Navy Times, the Navy is understandably “annoyed,” particularly because a Times Magazine fact-checker didn’t contact them until three days before the story went to press — not enough time to verify much of the article.
After I read the about the Times Magazine’s problem over the weekend I immediately Googled “Sara Corbett” in conjunction with “Mother Jones.” Sure enough, Corbett has written for the ballyhooed liberal bimonthly. As had Jack Hitt. Further, while there were no problems found with the article per se, another recent Times Magazine article on abortion rankled quite a few people; Emily Bazelon questioned whether women who’ve had abortions suffer as a result, titled “Is There a Post Abortion Syndrome?” Bazelon is, not improbably, Betty Friedan’s cousin and previously had written a skeptical article about the group Feminists for Life for — you guessed it — Mother Jones.
Hemingway suggests that the Times Magazine start broadening its reach for contributors. I’d call that a good start.