The Atlantic Magazine thought it would be able to speak poetic historical justice, by splashing the headline that the original reviled one, Kenneth Starr of Monica and Bill and Blue Dress and Impeachment fame, had been arrested for running a Ponzi Scheme.
Oh, the deep, deep satisfaction. They could feel it. But it was premature. And now The Atlantic editors have a mess on their hands.
Turns out that on the internet there is more than one Kenneth Starr, and the arrestee was not the tormentor of Bubba, but some guy with the name Kenneth Starr who ran a ponzi scheme.
You see, even crackerjack journalists sometimes forget that in the billions of people in the universe, there is a chance that two such people have the same name. And at Columbia School of Journalism, there is a special course on fact checking using Google and Yahoo. But someone at The Atlantic didn’t take that course.
Here is The Atlantic’s original announcement and correction:
Somewhere, Bill Clinton is smiling. One-time special prosecutor who uncovered the dirty details of the former President’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky has been engaged in some bad behavior of his own, according to the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission.
Correction (~3:18pm): Apparently there are two famous Kenneth Starrs. The one charged is an investment advisor to the stars, but not the former special prosecutor. Apologies to Bill Clinton if we got his hopes up — and to the other Kenneth Starr.
I hope The Atlantic has learned a lesson all victims of fraud must learn: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.