A note from the editors

Why we took down the Tom White story


Salon Staff
October 2, 2002 3:35AM (UTC)

After careful review, Salon's editors have decided to take down from our Web site an article titled "Tom White played key role in covering up Enron losses" that we published on Aug. 29. We took this unusual step because we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer stand by the story in its entirety. Though we have corroborated most of the reporting in the article, some unanswered questions remain.

Specifically, we have been unable to independently confirm the authenticity of an e-mail from former Enron executive and current Army Secretary Thomas White that was quoted in the article.

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Although Salon reviewed key supporting documents before publishing the article, we felt compelled to further investigate the story two weeks ago. At that time, we received a phone call from an editor at the Financial Times informing us that several paragraphs of the story, which was written by freelance writer Jason Leopold, had previously appeared in a February story in his paper.

We reviewed the complaint, discovered that it was legitimate, and posted a correction notice as soon as we were able to confirm the details. As we reported in that notice, "Leopold ... told Salon that he accidentally copied the passages while writing his own story, and never noticed the error during the editing of the story, or after it was published."

Whatever its basis, this sort of plagiarism is a serious breach of journalistic trust, and caused us to go back over every detail and aspect of the original article. Our review led us to take this latest step.

Salon apologizes to its readers. We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of careful journalism -- and, wherever questions or problems do arise, to correcting them promptly and fairly.

-- The editors of Salon


Salon Staff

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