April 4, 2006, - 11:00 am

USA Today Runs Another Fake Story

By Debbie Schlussel
More proof that you can’t believe everything you read–or the photos you see–in USA Today or the rest of the liberal media. And more proof that some “documentaries” are just plain fiction.
USA Today apparently has a rampant problem of reporters publishing anything anyone tells them without checking a thing. Now, The paper had yet another episode with a reporter writing a phony story, all having to do with a “documentary” about World War II, also now exposed as a complete fraud. The paper even published a phony picture of the alleged subject of the article (it was an actor).
The documentary portrayed a messenger–carrying the news the War had ended to President Truman–as a lazy teenager who stopped to eat pancakes and flirt, unnecessarily delaying the end of World War II. Total fiction, to which USA Today gave wide exposure.

quincyperkinsfakejones.jpgthomasejoneswwiimessenger.jpg

Fake-umentary Maker Quincy Perkins & Fake Thomas E. Jones (Published in USA Today, March 14th) (Left); The Real Thomas E. Jones (Right)

But USA Today doesn’t blame their lazy reporter who wrote an article of fiction–none of which he verified, and his editors (who don’t fact-check either, apparently). Nope. The paper blames it on the fraudulent film and the filmmaker, whose story the paper retold verbatim and without question.
You’d think a paper with a similar, previous embarrassing scandal, like the Jack Kelley plague, would have learned a “journalistic” bastion a lesson. But you’d be wrong.
Kelley was USA Today’s star reporter, who fabricated and plagiarized virtually all his stories, including an apocryphal story about an angry Jewish settler who wanted to kill Palestinians. The settler didn’t exist. USA Today brass ignored repeated demands to investigate Kelley, until it became so embarrassing, they finally had to do something. They finally fired Kelley.
But they’ve apparently learned nothing.
As we reported here, last year, USA Today reporter Stephanie Armour wrote a totally false story about an alleged former Harvard and pro hockey player who became a multi-millionaire Hispanic drink distributor. But none of it was true. She failed “Reporting 101″ and didn’t verify a thing. Instead, she published a repeat of his press releases and fanciful stories. Very lazy. The paper had to publish an embarrassing article noting the fakery and retracting Armour’s “report.”
Was Armour fired for putting forth a completely phony story? Of course, not. She continues to “report”–or whatever you call fiction-writing–for USA Today.
Now, there’s yet another. But this time it defames a man’s behavior during World War II, far more serious.
Yesterday, USA Today had to publish yet another embarrassing article “correcting” yet another reporter, Patrick Gavin’s phony work. Gavin reported on a “documentary”–it now turns out to be mostly fiction–made by “filmmaker” Quincy Perkins and funded by Philadelphia ’76ers owner Greg Croce.
The “documentary” was about Thomas E. Jones. Then a 16-year-old messenger, he delivered the encoded cable to President Truman notifying him of Japan’s World War II surrender in 1945 and the War’s end.
USA Today reporter Gavin didn’t check the most basic “facts” he reported, and they turned out to be fiction. He reported that Jones was dead, and didn’t bother to check that. In fact, it took Jones’ children, using Google, to discover the false reporting that their father was dead and other phony details:

Jones . . . died Dec. 31 after battling various illnesses. But Perkins was able to tape a series of interviews that would form the basis for his 16-minute film.

Guess what? Thomas E. Jones is alive and well. And he never ever met or spoke with “filmmaker” Perkins. Had Gavin bothered to look into that, he’d also know that the rest of his “reporting” was phony also, including the headline, “Boy’s Pancake Breakfast Delayed the End of WWII.”
Gavin’s article began:

Whenever someone mentioned pancakes, without fail Thomas E. Jones would immediately think of Harry Truman.
It’s an odd word association for sure, but it’s understandable given Jones’ unusual place in our nation’s history.
On Aug. 14, 1945, Jones, a 16-year-old messenger in Washington, D.C., was entrusted to deliver to the White House the cable announcing Japan’s surrender to the United States to end World War II.
Unaware of his cargo’s import, the boy, in cavalier teenage fashion, put work on hold to eat pancakes at a diner, hang out with his friends and flirt with waitresses.
Later, he left his pancakes to complete the job only to be pulled over en route to the White House by a police officer, who berated the boy for making an illegal U-turn.

Except none of this is true. There were no pancakes, and the real, alive-and-well Thomas E. Jones says:

We delivered the message at four o’clock in the afternoon . . . . And we knew at the office that it had to do with the Japanese surrender. There wasn’t any lollygagging around. It was, ‘Take this and go.’

Gavin also reported this:

In one part of the interview, Jones, 76, recalls handing the president the letter: “He said, ‘What do you have for me, young man?’ I gave him the letter, and he opened it up and looked at it for a while and then patted me on the head and said: ‘It’s good news. It’s really good news.'”

Problem is, the REAL Jones says he never met President Truman.
Apparently, “filmmaker” Perkins took “documentary” lessons from Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock (see also, here).

“It was such a large moment in history that nobody knows about, and I just love that,” says the director, 25. “I feel like an archaeologist in a way. . . . We did everything they tell you not to do,” the young filmmaker says. “This film theoretically should not have been made.

Uh-huh. An “archeologist” who makes up history. But he’s right: This fake film should NOT have been made.
And the USA Today reporter should have reported. But now that he didn’t, don’t look for him to be fired. Jack Kelley, Stephanie Armour, and now Patrick Gavin. (Last year, The Detroit News, then-owned by USA Today owner Gannett, also published a fake story by “star” reporter David Shepardson. Nothing happened to him either.)
And they tell us they are “journalists.” Puh-leeze. We’d be safer believing what we read in the “The Onion” (“America’s Finest News Source”).
****
NBA ’76ers owner Pat Croce, the funder of the “documentary,” has a lot of egg on his face, too:

“I love history, ideally pirate history,” Croce says. “But when Quincy said he had this story that wasn’t even in Truman’s biography, I thought this film has to be made. – I told him, ‘Don’t settle for anything. Our goal is an Oscar.’ “

Like we said, somebody’s taking cues from Michael Moore.

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10 Responses

On my blog today, http://www.xanga.com/NYCJOYCE/467603145/item.html i had to RETRACT a story i “reported” NOT because i think myself a JOURNALIST, but because with the ‘freedom of the press’ clause in the FIRST Amendment i think there’s a certain RESPONSIBILITY implied for those of us using THIS new form of the press called blogging!!!
Whilst Reagan suspended all responsibility when HE voided the “Fairness Doctrine” in broadcasting…and nothing is MORE BROADER than the internet…there ARE those of US who DO think that when you make a mistake you SHOULD acknowledge it…even Matt Drudge subscribes to this philosophy.
*USA Today* as LIBERAL media…are you now a meth head luvergurl???
*USA Today* is the TV Guide of cutting edge journalism, so i seriously DOUBT that THEY fit into your ‘liberal media’ mode…the “Jew Yawk Times,” and let’s not pull any punches here—JEWS and NYC are synonymous to the commie LEFT agenda—PRINTS retractions WHEN they’re proven wrong!!!
Oh well, Orwell…lemme send a jpeg shout out to Artie Lange in closing…LOL

EminemsRevenge on April 4, 2006 at 2:42 pm

Let’s face it, Deb… Fiction is a lot more appealing to the mind than just the plain ‘ol truth. That’s why I read about the mainstream press thru the new press, the blogsphere.

Yiddish Steel on April 4, 2006 at 3:26 pm

M+M’s revenge;Arite-The drug felon,bank robbery, drunk,3rd.rate comic who hates Debbie and all she works for-

danny on April 4, 2006 at 3:40 pm

Because we rely so much on media they must be held to a high level of responsibility. This should not occur.
Raymond B
http://www.voteswagon.com

raymondb.voteswagon.com on April 4, 2006 at 6:59 pm

Eminem’s Revenge, your site must be in a foreign language because it seemed a bunch of jibberish to me.
Worst of all, it set off my Norton anti-virus, saying it detected an intrusion.

The_Man on April 4, 2006 at 9:42 pm

Em’s website looks like someone’s personal webpage from 1996 when no one knew how to design a site. It’s all over the place just like his writing style.

Concerned Conservative on April 5, 2006 at 10:28 am

Every day we are made more aware of the “vast wasteland” represented by the formerly major news networks and print media. Within five years, I predict they will all be mere figments of our imagination. Well…that will give CBS time to get their five year’s worth out of that great, non-biased “newsperson” they have just signed!

JASCC on April 6, 2006 at 4:33 pm

I was reading some curious stuff from the mid-to-late 60’s … it’s part of an ‘urban myth’ thing I have to do as it pertains to modern revisionist propaganda.
Anyway, I kept running into this phrase, this mantra about the ‘plastic people’ who do not have real lives, real thoughts, or real meaning in their lives … and this was aimed at the Conservatives. Apparantly the movie ‘The Graduate’ supposedly addressed this very topic.
Kind of ironic that the old hippies have become the very thing they ranted against … plastic people, who do not live, or write about, real lives with real meaning.
Don’t get me wrong … I’ve always had this Anne Bancroft thing :) But that’s not the issue.
What I’m trying to solve is whether it’s the drugs, or the media … it’s like the ‘chicken and the egg’ quandry.

Athling on April 7, 2006 at 11:10 pm

Em,
For your information, and I think that you need a lot of information, the Fairness Doctrine allowed a station to broadcast an opinion, but required them to broadcast any “responsible” representative of an opposing opinion. The problem was that any opinion had an opposing view if the audience was large enough. That meant that the station could end up tying up all its time broadcasting opinions. The stations wanted to broadcast entertainment. There is always differing opinions available. What the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine did was to insert market forces into broadcasting of opinions. In other words, what was broadcast was whatever the public wanted to hear. So the majority of people who wanted to tune into opinon-based radio and television were CONSERVATIVES, a group of people that the liberal media had almost succeeded in silencing.
That is what you, Em, cannot stand: CONSERVATISM!!! It has to freak you poor Liberals out. You cannot shut us up. You run across our opinions everywhere. Now you know how we felt back in the 1970s when you clowns dominated the media. HA! HA! HA! Remember the term, “The Silent Majority?” Well, we really are the majority.
Athling,
It is fun to look back on the 1960s pop culture and the views of the emerging youth culture. Always remember that one decade (1970s) of those views being practiced by the culture as a whole and they were proven false, stupid, and totally unworkable. They led to Ronald Reagan. Groovy.

Loser on April 9, 2006 at 9:32 pm

Loser,
I’ve recently heard another term coming into play about Lib media … ‘Rather Syndrome’.
“It’s the news the way we’d Rather have it” :)
I think that they’re conversion to the faith of drug induced utopia just might have a bearing on why the Lefty media simply cannot even find the truth, much less report on it … which is why they resort to fiction.

Athling on April 12, 2006 at 9:13 pm

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