May 23rd, 2011
Scott Horton isn’t the world’s most careful journalist. But that doesn’t seem to bother the American Society of Magazine Editors, who gave him the National Magazine Award for Reporting this year. (I know, right?)
The story for which Horton won the award seems to be in line with his usual work. Over at AdWeek, Alex Koppelman has a brilliant story about Horton’s story. Not to be missed:
In fact, Horton’s story, which the judges for the award—administered by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) and regarded as the Pulitzer for magazines—found so compelling, was actually a well-shopped one, familiar to some of the most experienced investigative journalists in the business. These included The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh as well as teams from CBS News’ 60 Minutes and ABC News’ Brian Ross Investigative Unit that had looked into the alleged killings and the accounts provided by the men who became Horton’s key sources, and found more flight of fancy than fact. (Horton acknowledges in his story that his source had been in contact with ABC News.) . . .
Only after the big guys passed was the story shopped to Horton. He won for reporting, but in fact the story fell right into his lap, factual flaws and all.
“We couldn’t really believe it when the piece came out,” one of the reporters who looked into the story says. “I can’t believe Harper’s, I really can’t.”
There’s more. Lots and lots more. Koppelman = Awesome.
Koppelman didn’t need to waste all that space to make his point. It’s rather simple: Sy Hersh passed on this story. ‘Nuff said. End of story.
Just because he did such a good job the first time around in throwing cold water on this story (and Koppelman gives him props in his article), I thought I should share the link to Joe Carter’s masterful fisking of Horton’s original article (with fun follow-up Andrew Sullivan smack-downs):
[...] from conservative commentators, such as the Weekly Standard’s “The Scrapbook, ” Jonathan Last, and Joe Carter (who wrote his own earlier series of articles critiquing Horton’s [...]
[...] response from conservative commentators, such as the Weekly Standard’s “The Scrapbook, ” Jonathan Last, and Joe Carter (who wrote his own earlier series of articles critiquing Horton’s investigation, [...]
[...] commentators, such аѕ Thе Weekly Standard’s “Thе Scrapbook, “ Jonathan Last, аnd Joe Carter (whο wrote hіѕ οwn earlier series οf articles critiquing [...]