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At what point does an article become irresponsible?

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

On August 9, 2017, The Nation published an article by Patrick Lawrence arguing, “There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.” The article was immediately controversial, so on September 1, 2017, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel appended a note outlining the objections to Lawrence’s piece, complete with links. This editor’s note was written in the spirit of open inquiry, suggesting that Lawrence’s article was worth debating and might be true.

That was perhaps an appropriate stance in the weeks after the article was published. But New Yorker staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian has revisited the Lawrence piece in a Twitter thread, noting that subsequent reporting has cast credibility on original sources used by Lawrence. Crucially, two experts cited by Lawrence have backtracked.

Khatchadourian’s thread is worth reading.