That’ll teach us to rely upon the mainstream media. Last week we passed along the news, reported by Variety, that movie star Wesley Snipes had cut a deal with the Internal Revenue Service. Snipes stands accused of engaging in massive tax fraud. According to Variety, Snipes negotiated a deal under which he wouldn’t serve any jail time, and would pay taxes and penalties to the IRS under an installment plan.
Well, we take it all back. From another MSM outlet, but a more venerable one:
Wesley Snipes, who often portrays law enforcement agents in movies, remains a federal fugitive, and no deal has been made to drop the tax fraud and conspiracy charges against him, a spokesman for Paul I. Perez, the United States attorney in central Florida, said yesterday.
Straightforward enough — on-the-record comment from a U.S.A.O. flack. So how did Variety get this so wrong?
Patrick Frater, who wrote the [Variety] article, said yesterday that he spoke to three associates of Mr. Snipes, but made no attempt to check with prosecutors about what they had said. Any blame for inaccuracy, he added, should rest on Variety editors “who put it through” into print.
Two quick thoughts. First, we never went to journalism school, but aren’t MSM reporters supposed to reach out to both parties to a story in the course of their reporting?
Second, one of the nice things about blogging is that your writing doesn’t have to be filtered through an editor. But the downside is that, when the stuff hits the fan, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
No Deal Made to Free Actor in Tax Case, Prosecutors Say [New York Times]
Earlier: Wesley Snipes Cuts a Deal with the IRS
White Men Can’t Jump — But They Can Nab You for Tax Evasion