A newspaper front page that wrongly identified two innocent men as the prime suspects in the Boston marathon bombing has renewed embarrassment for the New York Post newspaper, just days after it erroneously reported that 12 people had died in the incident when the death toll was in fact three.
Showing the two false suspects with a full-page photo and the headline “BAG MEN,” the tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation told its readers: “Feds seek these two pictured at Boston marathon.”
Despite the two men soon being cleared as having played no part in the plot and never having been key to the investigation, the newspaper maintained that its story was essentially true as police were indeed initially analysing CCTV images of many marathon spectators with backpacks, including the two men in the photo. But the front cover has been heavily criticised by commentators who argued that it presented the two men as if they had been positively identified as the key suspects in the bombing.
The New York Post’s Editor-in-Chief, Col Allan, said in a statement: “We stand by our story. The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects.” The newspaper has also blamed police for telling its reporters on the day of the bombing that up to 12 may have died, though every other media outlet accurately stuck to two or three in their reported death tolls.