Web of inaccuracy


Geraldine Sealey
March 1, 2004 9:39PM (UTC)

Students writing term papers or journalists doing Google-reporting have learned by now not to believe everything they read on the Internet. Just like good old hard copy reference materials, it's best to check the source. One would hope for credibility from sites administered by the U.S. government. But not when it comes to an official bio of the president found on the State Department Web site, it turns out.

The Boston Globe points out that the State Department has, since 2001, featured an embellished account of Bush's National Guard service on the Internet. The site "credits him with almost six years in the F-102's cockpit -- two years on active duty flying the plane and nearly four more years of part-time service as an F-102 pilot. The websites of at least five American embassies -- those in Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Vietnam, and South Korea -- use the identical language, even though Bush spent barely two years flying the airplane."

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The Globe quotes Dan Bartlett, White House communications director, admitting the bio is wrong: "It does not reflect the facts of his service. It will be corrected."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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