It's been one day since the revelation that the News-Times ran an incredibly inaccurate story that resulted in Mayor Boughton pulling a permit from a group of Christians who were planning to have a peaceful rally on Tuesday.
Did the News-Times explain to their readers how they allowed this hoax to get in their paper today?
Well, not quite.
While the News-Times explained how the series of events unfolded, they did not explain how the editors let this hoax slip by without checking the accuracy of the claims.
In retrospect, there are were many very clear warning signs that should of alerted the editors of the News-Times and while writer Elizabeth Putnam should get a serious slap on the wrist, a majority of the blame should rest on the editors who obviously forgot the rule regarding doublechecking information before going to print.
Somewhere John Briggs and Lionel Bascom are shaking their heads.
Read this part of today's article.
The brouhaha began Wednesday when The News-Times posted a brief article on its Web site announcing that Minutemen United, an Ohio-based Christian organization, planned a rally on the Danbury Green. The group believes the walls between church and state must be removed.Now, let's break this down.
Shortly thereafter, the man – who identified himself as Rick Renage on the phone and Rick Regado in e-mails – contacted The News-Times to say three busloads of Grey Wolves would show up to support Minutemen United. He described the group as having about 200 members who dressed in "black pants, black boots, red sox with black jackets and the swastika branded on the back."
"I personally am not looking for any confrontations, but if we are provoked, we will react very strongly," Renage/Regado wrote.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the United States, said Wednesday it had no knowledge of the Grey Wolves. "We follow these things very closely," Mark Potok, director of the Center's Intelligence Project said Friday. "We never heard of this guy."
This is understandable, since the group does not exist except, briefly, in the mind of a man who says he lives in southern Fairfield County.
1. In the original article, Putnam said that The Southern Poverty Law Center could not confirm that the Grey Wolves were a hate-group BUT in the article on Saturday, we learn that The Southern Poverty Law Center told the News-Times that they have NO KNOWLEDGE of the Grey Wolves. This is clearly different than them saying that they couldn't confirm that they are a hate-group.
2. The man who emailed the News-Times and caused all the mess who identified himself as Rick Renage on the phone and Rick Regado in e-mails and this didn't sound off any of the editor's alarm bells.
3. (MOST IMPORTANT) There is NO information on a hate-group called the Grey Wolves based in America on the internet.
According to Wikipedia, the name (named Grey or Gray) refers to a Neo-Nazi Turkish political group.
Grey Wolves (Bozkurtlar in Turkish) is the common name for the members of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party ("Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi", MHP), an ultra-nationalist movement founded by Alparslan Türkeş in 1961.More info on the Turkish group can be found here.
They are named after a legendary wolf that led captive Turks to freedom. Their formal name in Turkish is ülkücüler (the idealists) and Ülkücü Hareket (The Idealist Movement) (see Actual Idealism). Their female supporters are called Asena.
Like all other parties, MHP was banned after the military coup of September 12, 1980 and it lost many of its core cadres to the neo-liberal Motherland Party or various vestiges of the Islamist movement.
The founder of the MCP ,Alparslan Turkes is a noted admirer of Adolf Hitler. This organization has a racist and facist ideology with strong Nazi-like ideology.
The Nationalist Task Party ("Milliyetçi Çalışma Partisi", MÇP) was founded in 1983 as a successor to the MHP, and as of 1992 is again known as the MHP.
The para-military wing of the Grey Wolves were covertly supported by the CIA and were invisioned to be used as anti-communist insurgents in an event of a Soviet invasion of Turkey
Again, while there is information on the Turkish group, to this day, I have no been able to find any information on this group in America but read what Elizabeth Putnam wrote about the group in her original article.
The Grey Wolves, a Northeast-based white supremacist group loosely affiliated with the Christian Identity Movement, will bring three busloads of people to the rally, Rick Renage, Grey Wolves spokesman, said Wednesday.Now, how can this group be "a Northeast-based white supremacist group loosely affiliated with the Christian Identity Movement" if the guy madfe the whole thing up? She also put this important thing in her piece:
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization known for its battles with white supremacists and its tracking of extremist groups across the country, could not confirm whether the Grey Wolves is a hate group.If The Southern Poverty Law Center can not confirm that the Grey Wolves is a hate-group, why did Putnam call then a white supremacist group in her piece (later we find out that they told the News-Times that they had NO information on this group NOT that they could not confirm if the group was a hate-organization). Where did she get this information from?
Today's editorial said nothing about this huge screw-up instead, they focused on "a showdown brewing at the United Nations" between Iran and the rest of the world. Although the Iran situation is serious, they could (and should) explain to their readers how they dropped the ball on this story.
This is irresponsible journalism and the News-Times has an obligation to it's readers to come clean on this matter. Explaining what happened is not good enough and Putnam should not be the scapegoat as her bosses are equally responsible for not double checking this bogus information.