My Resignation From the New York Times
Following is an account of approximately one-tenth of the articles in which falsification, plagiarism, defamation of character, improper grammar, jingoistic sucking up to Donald Rumsfeld, mishandling of basic geographical facts, bad spelling, and just plain ignorance were discovered in a review of articles written by Neal Pollack, who resigned yesterday as a reporter for the New York Times. The review, conducted by a team of very tired Times reporters and researchers, came as a bit of a surprise, since no one was aware that Mr. Pollack actually worked here. According to Mr. Pollack, he was hired as the Times' Seoul bureau chief in October 2000 and has filed important stories on every major world event since then. Spot checks of his claims reveal that he's full of crap.
"Lawyer Says D.C.-area Snipers Had Mysterious Accomplice"
April 27, 2003
DENIED REPORTS: A lawyer for Lee Malvo, the younger of two men charged in the Washington-area sniper attacks last fall, was quoted as saying, "Neither of my clients ever touched a gun. There was a third gunman, who hid in the shadows and fired with deadly accuracy. Here, let me show you his videotaped confession." Through a business partner, the lawyer told the Times that he was getting a "massage" all day and never spoke with Mr. Pollack.
FACTUAL ERRORS: The first sentence of the story said that Mr. Malvo requested a lawyer who was "stacked." He did not.
"Injured Soldiers Tremble in War's Aftermath"
April 17, 2003
WHEREABOUTS: The scenes described in the article ostensibly took place inside a ward of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., which Mr. Pollack has never visited. Hospital employees said they received a number of phone calls where the person on the other end said, "I know you are, but what am I?" Records show the calls were from Mr. Pollack's cell phone.
DENIED REPORTS: Of the nine "wounded" soldiers described in the article, only one was actually injured, and that was from a paper cut sustained while filing papers in the hospital office. Pollack's interview with Cpl. Max Klinger, who he described as "nothing but an armless hunk of meat who regrets everything about this war," was also substantially falsified. Cpl. Klinger actually has both his arms and thought the war was delightful.
"Rescued Private Says She's 'Ready to Party' "
April 4, 2003
PLAGIARISM: Pfc. Jessica Lynch did not say, "I loved Ashton, but I'm not sorry we broke up, because now I can have sex with whoever I want." That quote was lifted directly from a profile of actress Brittany Murphy in US Weekly. Pfc. Lynch was also not on hand for the Hollywood premiere of the new hit comedy Just Married.
WHEREABOUTS: Hotels in Palestine, W.Va., show no record of Mr. Pollack's alleged visit. The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, on the other hand, reports that he ran up an $800 minibar tab and made several calls to a local "friendship" club.
Neal Pollack is the author of Alternadad. He lives in Los Angeles.