Tuesday, December 12, 2006

SCMP: more trouble at mill

On 27th October 2006, prominently displayed on both the front page of South China Morning Post and the same page of its daily supplement Business Post was the following:
We wish to state unequivocally and categorically that the photographs we published on the front page of the main section and on the front page of the business section of the South China Morning Post yesterday, October 26, 2006, purporting to be of Charles Schmitt were not in fact photographs of Charles Schmitt. They were of Mr Rainer W. Rommel. Mr Rommel has nothing to do with Charles Schmitt's conviction, sentence or crime.
The photographs were published as a result of an error by the SCMP.
We wish to apologise wholeheartedly and unreservedly to Mr Rommel for the distress and concern that this will undoubtedly have caused him.
Mark Clifford
Editor-in-Chief, South China Morning Post Publishers Limited
On a little island in the South China Sea, the collective response was, "heads will roll".

Roll, they have. Chinese-language Apple Daily reports not only has the errant photojournalist gone but SCMP Business Editor Stuart Jackson has now been forced to fall on his sword and quit for "personal reasons". For an English rendering of the Apple story: EastSouthWestNorth.

We know errors occur, mistakes are made. But one of the first laws of journalism is: may sure you spell their name right. In the photo-editing department that surely must be: make certain you get the picture right.

Still, as English dramatist and poet Alexander Pope reminds us, "To err is human". Pope then goes further, "to forgive divine". Perhaps the unfairly impugned Mr Rainer W Rommel, has never read Pope. Is that why the SCMP's Business Editor has lost his job? Has Mr Rommel, whoever he is, been so distressed he has hired expensive lawyers to seek a financial salve from the SCMP to ease away his pain?

Charles Schmitt: Ex-NYSE Manager Jailed for Hong Kong Hedge-Fund Fraud: bloomberg
One of the punters whio got suckered [update: see Comments, below) by Schmitt: expat@large

Rainer W Rommel? He doesn't exist, according to google. Not yet, anyway. He will, after this post is posted. Oh, wait a second . . . at the archive of media apologies and clarifications,
More fun with photos (October 30, 2006): reget the error

Thanks to corporate crime watcher and indefatigable guardian of publishing standards for archiving the SCMP apology, Nick G!

For newer/previous posts, please click on scmp in Labels.


Expat@Large said...

Show us the picture of Rommell. Was he standing in the turrett of a tank? Was he wearing goggles? Was it in a desert? I reckon he DOES exist!

& I didn't get suckered in by Schitt, I got suckered in by my investement advisor who in *his* turn got suckered in by Schitt, the twerp!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing funny about any of this. A newspaper has a sacred duty to TRUTH and our readers expect us to be upstanding moral citizens, with no time for a lot of horseplay. We are judged by everything we do, everything.You there? Did you touch yourelf in an unclean manner? That will not be tolerated at the SCMP. Stop smiling,mister. My standards of decency are well known to everyone. If you don't agree, too bad.
Parson Clifford