According to Gawker, Craig R. Whitney, The New York Times' "standards editor," sent out a staff memo this morning in direct reaction to the Times' now-thoroughly-discredited puffball profile of Margaret Jones/Peggy Seltzer:
To the newsroom staff:
Single-source profiles of people who are not already well known quantities are traps we have fallen into twice in the past year or two, and that's too often. Until publishers start fact-checking their own nonfiction books, and that'll be the day, we should remember that profiles of unknown authors should always include reporting from other sources -- not just surrogates of the profilee like agents, publishers, lawyers, etc. -- to verifiy the most important facts. But even when there's no book involved, the same rule applies. If we can't find ways to check key facts, names, graduation claims, etc., we should hold the story until we can verify them, and if we can't, we should be suspicious. Live and learn....
The most powerful paper in the world gets thoroughly schnookered by a mendacious writer, and the "standards editor" responds with a Gallic-shrug memorandum? Live and learn.