UPDATE: WSB-TV FedExed the letter in question to our office on May 19, two days after Wayne Pacelle reported "receiving" a copy of it at HSUS's factory-fundraising headquarters (May 17). We're convinced that HSUS's people wrote the letter. The "original" copy we received wasn't even signed in ink. It's printed with a (very sloppy) scanned signature. Click here to see the FedEx waybill.
This afternoon Wayne Pacelle blogged about a letter our Executive Director supposedly received from WSB-TV in Atlanta. We say "supposedly" because we first saw it on Pacelle's blog. (He got it and we didn't, which should tell you all you need to know about this whole episode and how it was arranged.)
Moreover, the letter itself — assuming it's genuine — wrongly suggests that we have re-broadcast the fantastic piece of investigative journalism that WSB broadcast last year. We never uploaded it to YouTube or any other online service. Many, many others did.
Pacelle seems especially perturbed by the fact that the video in question is still widely available on a file-sharing service in the Islamic Republic of Iran. If he's really interested in curtailing people's rights to free expression in that country, we suggest that he take it up with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Given that Iran is now apparently a nuclear nation, we recommend that he ask nicely.
In the mean-time, WSB-TV did publish an online "clarification" — not a "correction" or a "retraction" as Pacelle has claimed at various times. (Yes, Wayne, there's a difference.) The news station basically said that HSUS disagreed with its reporting, but that the station stood by it:
We have a clarification to make about our story on the Humane Society of the United States. WSB-TV reported that HSUS spent almost $7 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina. HSUS says all $34 million of the funds raised in the wake of Katrina are tracked on its web site in a detailed report. [emphasis added]
Of course, what "HSUS says…" isn't the same as "it's true that…"
If WSB-TV's management now wants to change its mind and scratch Mr. Pacelle's back and put their faith in his self-serving spin, instead of trusting the judgment of its own award-winning reporters, that's their business.
We have to wonder how much HSUS paid them. But we'll just keep reporting the truth. Someone has to.