Thursday, June 26, 2014

The AP Admits Falsehoods Re: Irish "Infant Mass Grave" Story

Weird. I got this emailed to me, but I haven't heard it from any of the major outlets that were trumpeting the initial horror story. Basically, the story about all the babies being starved to death and dumped into a septic tank for burial was a huge load of crap. The AP has now issued a correction.

Isn't that nice of them?

Too bad few, if any, of the slanderers who followed suit seem to be bothering to do so.

You can read about the correction here. A few highlights:

Revelations this month that nuns had buried nearly 800 infants and young children in unmarked graves at an Irish orphanage during the last century caused stark headlines and stirred strong emotions and calls for investigation. Since then, however, a more sober picture has emerged that exposes how many of those headlines were wrong...

The religious orders' use of unmarked graves reflected the crippling poverty of the time, the infancy of most of the victims, and the lack of plots in cemeteries corresponding to the children's fractured families...

Her list of the dead shows that nearly 80 percent were younger than 1; two died within 10 minutes of birth and never received first names. Ninety-one died in the 1920s, 247 in the 1930s, 388 in the 1940s, 70 in the 1950s, and one more child in 1960. The most common causes were flu, measles, pneumonia, tuberculosis and whooping cough. Contrary to the allegations of widespread starvation highlighted in some reports, only 18 children were recorded as suffering from severe malnutrition...

When Corless published her findings on a Facebook campaign page, and Irish media noticed, she speculated to reporters that the resting place of most, if not all, could be inside a disused septic tank on the site. By the time Irish and British tabloids went to print in early June, that speculation had become a certainty, the word "disused" had disappeared, and U.S. newspapers picked up the report, inserting more errors, including one that claimed the researcher had found all 796 remains in a septic tank.

The Associated Press was among the media organizations that covered Corless and her findings, repeating incorrect Irish news reports that suggested the babies who died had never been baptized and that Catholic Church teaching guided priests not to baptize the babies of unwed mothers or give to them Christian burials.

The reports of denial of baptism later were contradicted by the Tuam Archdiocese, which found a registry showing that the home had baptized more than 2,000 babies. The AP issued a corrective story on Friday after discovering its errors...

But the newspaper spotted discrepancies in Corless' maps, and found records showing that the actual septic tank remained in use until the late 1930s, which meant it could not have been used as a burial spot. Other analysts pointed out that the decommissioned septic tank would be too small to hold many bodies. And the two men who had reported seeing skeletons in 1975 said, on reflection, that they doubted more than 20 were inside the concreted hole.

Remember this story, everyone. In twenty years, you'll be talking about the Faith with someone or refuting some other Black Legend-ish garbage, and someone will bring up all the babies that were murdered and dumped in the septic tank. Such is the nature of the world and its relationship to the Church.

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