If you read Wizbang you’d know that over a month ago, key elements of the USAToday call database story were starting to fall apart. First Bellsouth and Verizon denied they gave any data to the NSA, then Bellsouth went so far as to demand a retraction.
Now, 6 weeks later, in a “A note to our readers” the USAToday gets around to admitting they got it wrong… But like all the big media errors of late, they don’t accept responsibility for screwing up… They lay the blame on the accused for not denying it strenuously enough.
The denial was unexpected. USA TODAY had spoken with BellSouth and Verizon for several weeks about the substance of the report. The day before the article was published, the reporter read the sections of the article concerning BellSouth and Verizon to representatives of the companies and asked for a denial before publication.
At the time, BellSouth did not deny participation in the program, but it issued a statement saying the company “does not provide any confidential customer information to the NSA or any government agency without proper legal authority.” Verizon said that it would not comment on national security matters and that it acts “in full compliance with the law” and with respect for customers’ privacy.
On May 15, BellSouth said it could not categorically deny participation in the program until it had conducted a detailed investigation. BellSouth said that internal review concluded that the company did not contract with the NSA or turn over calling records.
It’s all Bellsouth’s fault for not denying it enough. How much more cowardly can they get? Bellsouth demanded a retraction a over a month ago and when the USAToday does finally print something they blame the victims of their false accusations.
Next I guess they’ll win a Pulitzer for investigative reporting.