Remember the cock and bull story about the bodies of kids being stuffed into a septic tank by nuns who ran a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, Ireland? If you do, the Associated Press really wishes you would forget all about it.
DUBLIN (AP) — In stories published June 3 and June 8 about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized. The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching. In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any. The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926.
A rather churlish correction that does not indicate how they managed to get so many factual matters, and others they neglected to mention, wrong. Of course, the explanation is quite simple: ignorance and bigotry are hell on good reporting. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the major media outlets that screamed this story across the world to even note this correction.