NY Times publishes fake letter from Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë criticising Kennedy
The New York Times was forced to apologise on Monday after it published a fake letter, purportedly from the mayor of Paris, criticising Caroline Kennedy's bid for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat as "not very democratic".
Last Updated: 11:33PM GMT 22 Dec 2008
Caroline Kennedy wants to take over Hillary Clinton's old seat in the Senate Photo: AP
"What title has Ms Kennedy to pretend to Hillary Clinton's seat?" the letter in Monday's edition of the newspaper said. "We French can only see a dynastic move of the vanishing Kennedy clan in the very country of the Bill of Rights. It is both surprising and appalling."
In an note from the editor posted Monday on its website, the newspaper said the letter signed by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë should not have been published because it violated the paper's standards and procedures.
"We have already expressed our regrets to Mr Delanoë's office and we are now doing the same to you, our readers," the Times said.
News of the hoax was first reported by France-Amerique, which published a story on its website on Monday. Jean-Cosme Delaloye, the Editor-in-chief of the French language monthly, which is based in New York City, said an employee read the letter in the New York Times on Monday morning and was sceptical.
"When we read the letter it just sounded very surprising, the choice of words sounded very surprising," he told The Associated Press. "When we called Paris to verify the information ... they were very surprised."
Virginie Christnacht, head of Mr Delanoë's press office in Paris, said the letter was a fake.
"We have asked the New York Times for a denial and an apology," she said. "Clearly, this was never sent by Bertrand Delanoë."
The Times blamed the mistake on a failure to verify the authenticity of a letter that arrived by email.
"In this case, our staff sent an edited version of the letter to the sender of the email and did not hear back," the paper said. "At that point, we should have contacted Mr Delanoë's office to verify that he had, in fact, written to us. We did not do that. Without that verification, the letter should never have been printed."