By Dick Radley | Freelance Editor and Journalist
In the weeks since Katrina Dubin Ardely's story of police brutality in Cajoling Tone magazine exploded onto the internet, as most readers know by now, evidence has emerged proving the article entirely false. Here's a brief summary of what we've all learned:
• Jack was never beaten by police
• Jack gave friends mixed accounts of being beaten, sometimes blaming the police and other times blaming a group of random men
• Jack, in fact, was not beaten at the hands of another, but rather beat himself up and subsequently invented a crime
Whatever happened or didn't happen to Jack, and whatever motive he had to create a false narrative, all of that is, of course, a big part of the story. But what I'd like to know is how Ms. Dubin Ardely managed to hear Jack's description of events without questioning it, and what, if any, fact checking and due diligence she conducted prior to reporting it all as if it were truth?
I spoke with the man in her article called Joe, who said, "She quoted me directly in her story, but I never talked to her once. I have no idea where that quote came from. I don't know anything about any kind of ritualized police brutality in this town."
I also spoke with Suburbia chief of police Ben Modano, who Ms. Dubin Ardely claims "declined to comment" for her story. "She never reached out to me or to anyone at the department," said Chief Modano. "Had she contacted me, I would've been able to clear this up for her quite easily." Regarding the song Ms. Dubin Ardely quotes throughout the article, "Fraternally Yours," Chief Modano specifically asked me to mention that neither he nor any of Suburbia's other police officers have ever heard it or heard of it, let alone ever sung it.
Finally, I spoke with Earl White, the only person whose real name appears in Ms. Dubin Ardely's article. "She bought a story about Jack getting beaten by cops because that's what she wanted to hear. She wanted to do a story on police brutality in an upscale, quiet town, and Jack gave her what she wanted." Mr. White went on to note, "Look how she quoted me! I told her my real name and told her Jack wasn't beaten by cops, so she put my quote in, but twisted the way she did it to make it seem like I was denying the truth. But she was the one in denial. She was the one who couldn't see the truth even though it was right there in front of her, because she either didn't want to see the truth or didn't care about the truth. Maybe she cared about victims like Jack and helping to prevent future crimes, but mostly she cared about advancing her career. From what I've read lately, now that her article turned out to be a hoax, all she did for her career was ruin it."
(Click here to read the inspiration for this two part series. Thank you, Richard Bradley.)