Intercept Reporter Made Up Quotes, Invented Sources: Editor

Juan Thompson's rambling explanation gives his bizarre take
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2016 2:48 PM CST

The Intercept, a website dedicated to "fearless, adversarial journalism," often produces stories that push for government and corporate accountability by exposing secrets and wrongdoings. But a note posted Tuesday by EIC Betsy Reed shows the site's been doing some major sleuthing on one of its own. "The Intercept recently discovered a pattern of deception in the actions of … Juan Thompson, [who] was a staff reporter from November 2014 until last month," she writes. "Thompson fabricated several quotes in his stories and created fake email accounts that he used to impersonate people, one of which was a Gmail account in my name." Reed notes corrections were made to a handful of Thompson's stories so far—one story about Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was retracted entirely—due to quotes attributed to people who said they were never interviewed or to sources the Intercept couldn't verify, among others.

The story just gets weirder from there. Over at Gawker, JK Trotter lays out the entire timeline of developments, including a series of tweets Thompson made last year complaining about white plagiarists (Thompson is black), his apparently exaggerated Intercept bio (the original has now been taken down), and a bizarre, rambling letter from Thompson to Reed, who says Thompson "did not cooperate in the review" of his work. In his letter—which has so far appeared in four different incarnations, with missing or added phrases, sent to Gawker, a CNN reporter, Re/code, and Reed herself—Thompson blames Reed for his articles' discrepancies ("I'm a cub reporter and expected a sustained and competent editor to guide me"); offers convoluted explanations for the discrepancies (which he admits were "sloppy"); and informs her he has testicular cancer and hopes she'll give him time to get his notes together. "It’s a very nefarious and ill liberal and anti humanist position to take if you do otherwise: kicking a cancer patient when he's down," he concludes. (Read more media stories.)

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