Did NY Times columnist invent story of Catholic-turned-abortionist?
A New York Times writer is facing allegations that he embellished or fabricated the story of a college classmate who turned from a practicing Catholic to a non-religious abortionist.
“The column you are questioning was written by Frank Bruni, a well respected, first class journalist, and it was written in keeping with the high editorial standards of The New York Times,” the paper’s vice president for corporate communications Eileen Murphy told CNA on April 3, when asked about factual concerns raised after its publication. The piece, she said, is “entirely authentic.”
But Murphy and the paper’s journalistic integrity office have offered no direct response to questions about whether the piece was fact-checked or otherwise verified. While Bruni insists that he cannot identify his source for privacy reasons, a fellow member of his college class – who organized its 25th anniversary reunion – says she has no memory of the person profiled.
Bruni’s March 24 column, “Rethinking His Religion,” told the story of an unnamed college classmate who “attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie.” The openly gay columnist said he kept his distance, since he had “arrived at college determined to be honest about my sexual orientation and steer clear of people who might make that uncomfortable or worse. I figured him for one of them.”
“About two years ago, out of nowhere, he found me,” Bruni wrote. “His life, he wanted me to know, had taken interesting turns … As a doctor, he has spent a part of his time providing abortions.”
The subject of the profile – who purportedly knew the murdered late-term abortionist George Tiller – was said to have left behind religion, and changed his views on issues like abortion and homosexuality. [More]