< Letters


Friday, March 13, 2009

BROOKE GLADSTONE: And now we want to offer a couple of corrections. The first is actually a lapse of journalistic judgment concerning references we made to the now-defunct public radio show, The Infinite Mind. The program’s host, Dr. Fred Goodwin, was found to have collected more than a million dollars in fees from drug companies. We called him to fact-check a dispute between him and executive producer Bill Lichtenstein, who said he had no knowledge of the money. Goodwin told us that Lichtenstein was aware that he'd received some money, just not how much, and he gave us the name of a producer to corroborate. When we reached her, she said that the show was aware of Goodwin’s conflicts of interests. We reported that. We also reported that Lichtenstein denied it. What we did not do was call him. That was a mistake. It wasn't fair and it didn't serve our listeners, so this week we did. Lichtenstein told us that he also spoke to that anonymous source, who said that she had no first-hand evidence that he knew of any fees. He emphasized that, in fact, he was not aware of Goodwin’s financial ties to drug companies and that The Infinite Mind had always adhered to standard journalism practice in vetting guests and disclosing conflicts of interest.

BOB GARFIELD: And now, correction number two concerns an interview we did with Robert Rosenthal, director of the Chauncey Bailey Project, an ad hoc group of journalists working to finish reporting the stories Bailey was working on when he was murdered in Oakland. In that interview we suggested that the project had broken the story of a link between the lead detective on the Bailey case and Bailey’s alleged assassins. Not so, writes Ken Conner, Metro editor of The San Francisco Chronicle. Quote: “Let me first say that we have nothing but the highest regard for the work the many-talented journalists on the Bailey Project have done, and Rosie” – he refers to Rosenthal – “is one of the finest journalists I have ever known. But, to clarify, the Bailey Project did not break the story about the link between the lead detective on the Bailey slaying and the bakery members allegedly involved. The San Francisco Chronicle broke that page-one story months before the project.” Keep those corrections coming to Onthemedia@wync.org, and for our part, we'll keep screwing up to give you something to write about.