Forbes: We fact-check after publishing

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Did I mention that Forbes' decision to publish Dinesh D'Souza's wingnut interpretation of Obama's un-American-ness has done deep damage to the magazine's reputation? Well, the latest revelation that Forbes attempted to fact-check the error-filled piece after it was published is not going to help matters.

From today's New York Times [emphases added]:

One of the most contentious points in Mr. D'Souza's article was his citation of a transaction by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to finance offshore drilling in Brazil, a deal Mr. D'Souza believes indicates Mr. Obama is more concerned with helping countries that formerly were the domains of colonial powers, rather than Americans.

A Forbes fact checker recently contacted the bank to check on the assertion that Mr. Obama supported the 2009 transaction with Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company. Mr. D'Souza asserted that Mr. Obama supported the deal, "not so oil ends up in the U.S. He is funding Brazilian exploration so that the oil can stay in Brazil."

A note written by Kevin Varney, the senior vice president and chief of staff of the bank, and posted in the comments section of Mr. D'Souza's blog -- and verified by a spokesman for the bank -- criticized Mr. D'Souza for not contacting the bank before publication.

"I received a call yesterday from Nathan Verdi, a fact checker at Forbes, who was calling to fact check your article after it was published. (Is this how journalism works now?)"

And this:

Mr. Varney said that to cite the deal as evidence of "an anticolonial, Kenyan ideology" on the part of Mr. Obama is "preposterous, it's false and it's wrong."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has asked Forbes point-blank whether the D'Souza piece was ever fact-checked. (I assume Gibbs meant before it was published.) Given this latest, embarrassing revelation, I think the team at Forbes needs to provide a yes-or-no answer to that question.

And as a reminder, here are some other relevant questions that Forbes editors have, to date, refused to address regarding the D'Souza fiasco:

-Who assigned it?

-Who edited it?

-Did Steve Forbes see the final version before it was published?

-Did any senior editors object to the tone/content while it was in editing process?

-Was the article actually fact-checked?

-If so, who oversaw the fact-checking process?

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