Fake News?--Reported Flooded Hog Farm is Actually Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant

Last fall the day after the hurricane the Waterkeepers Alliance spun a tale to the Washington Post and the Post published this photograph (below) to prove hog farms swamped by the hurricane were spreading pollution:hookTwo days later Deborah Johnson of the Pork Council emailed the Post: This isn’t a photograph of a hog farm. It’s a municipal wastewater treatment plant.When the Post didn’t reply Johnson wrote a letter to the editor – but the Post didn’t publish the letter.Then Angela Fritz of the Post wrote her: “It’s been a busy week for us but I just wanted you to know that we received your email and we’ll get back to you soon.”No one heard from the Post for the next four months.Then, in February, Mrs. Fritz responded to another email by saying, Let me talk to my co-authors…and I’ll get back to you soon.March, April and part of May passed with the Pork Council asking over and over for a correction but the photo remained on the Post’s website. Then, almost seven months after the story ran, the Post published a correction – sort of. It added one line to the story on its website: “Correction: A previous version of this story included before-and-after photos of a flooded hog farm that was inactive. We have removed that photo.”With the stroke of a pen the Post had turned the Hookerton municipal waste treatment plant from a hog farm into an ‘inactive’ hog farm. At best, that’s a half-apology. But, at least, the newspaper removed the photo.