The first thing I did this morning was to check my copy of AL-Ghad which was awaiting me on the breakfast table. I was happy to see that Al-Ghad published a retraction (or “sort of” a retraction) of their Genpets story from last week. The journalist who wrote the original story published a column on the first page of Al-Ghad’s Life section with the title of “Genpet: between truth and the web sites”.
The column clarifies that Genpets are an art project and not a “living toy”. The excuse for publishing the original story is that the the Jordanian Cabinet “banned the toy”! The retraction column cites Wikipedia and the BBC as sources to refute the story. But the the writer still does some beating around the bush by saying that there are “varying opinions” around the existence of the toy. The retraction should simply have:
1. Said the story is wrong, totally wrong and that science is nowhere near the ability to manufacture and sell a living creature. 2. APOLOGIZED to the readers for such a gross mistake.
And the retraction still misses the main point. The REAL JOURNALISTIC STORY should have been: How did the government, religious scholars and the media make such a huge mistake about something which is an obvious hoax/joke and that is fully explained on the web.
Just for your info, the original Genpet story in Al-Ghad was the most commented, read and emailed story of that day. Too many people were misinformed.
It’s good that Al-Ghad listened to its readers and published something to refute the story, but it is SAD that they could not bring themselves to sincerely apologize to their thousands of readers.
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