A few weeks ago, the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had pocketed a communion wafer he was offered at a funeral.
Video of the incident is below:
The video shows him taking the wafer but it doesn’t show what he does with it.
Rob Linke and Adam Huras reported the story for the paper and their article began like this:
A senior New Brunswick Roman Catholic priest is demanding the Prime Minister’s Office explain what happened to the sacramental communion wafer Stephen Harper was given at Roméo LeBlanc’s funeral mass.
During communion at the solemn and dignified service held last Friday in Memramcook for the former governor general, the prime minister slipped the thin wafer that Catholics call “the host” into his jacket pocket.
There are two updates to that story now:
First, the newspaper apologized to Harper, Linke, Huras, and its readers. Why?
The story stated that a senior Roman Catholic priest in New Brunswick had demanded that the Prime Minister’s Office explain what happened to the communion wafer which was handed to Prime Minister Harper during the celebration of communion at the funeral mass. The story also said that during the communion celebration, the Prime Minister “slipped the thin wafer that Catholics call ‘the host’ into his jacket pocket”.
There was no credible support for these statements of fact at the time this article was published, nor is the Telegraph-Journal aware of any credible support for these statements now. Our reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras, who wrote the story reporting on the funeral, did not include these statements in the version of the story that they wrote. In the editing process, these statements were added without the knowledge of the reporters and without any credible support for them.
The Telegraph-Journal sincerely apologizes to the Prime Minister for the harm that this inaccurate story has caused. We also apologize to reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras and to our readers for our failure to meet our own standards of responsible journalism and accuracy in reporting.
Second, because of the mistake, editor Shawna Richer and publisher Jamie Irving are no longer employed.
Harper was angry because he insists he ate the wafer.
I’m all for accurate journalism, and it was wrong of the editor and publisher to print what they did without verifying it.
But more egregious mistakes have been made in newspapers without this type of fallout. Is a cracker really to blame for all of this?
Skimming through the comments, politics plays a big role here as well and I’m not familiar with the names and parties. Maybe someone can clear that up for me.
(Thanks to Ron for the link!)