DiscoverTheNetworks is an informational database. Its utility depends on the accuracy of its information and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this is the case.
When DiscoverTheNetworks was launched in mid-February 2005, we made it clear from the outset that we were committed to maintaining the highest possible standard for the accuracy of the information included in our database. The GUIDE to our website states: "If any errors have been made in characterizing individuals or organizations, the editors of DiscoverTheNetworks will correct these as soon as they are brought to their attention. . . . [A] form is provided on the homepage of this site for this purpose." This pledge is our commitment. It distinguishes DiscoverTheNetworks apart from political attack sites posing as databases like Media Matters, Media Transparency, the Southern Poverty Law Center "Intelligence Project," and People For the American Way's "Right Wing Watch" - which make no attempt to correct factual inaccuracies and mischaracterizations on their sites when these are pointed out to them.
We will list corrections as we make them, so parties that may have been injured through inaccuracies can have the quickest and most effective redress.
Following are some examples of errors that have been pointed out to DiscoverTheNetworks (DTN), and which we have quickly and happily corrected:
1) During DTN's first week, a blogger friend of Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, whose profile appears on DTN, sent vanden Heuvel the bullet points which appeared at the head of her profile and asked for her reaction. These were the points:
- Editor and co-owner of the left-wing magazine The Nation
- Limousine leftwing daughter of William J. vanden Heuvel, who worked for the founder of the CIA and for Robert F. Kennedy, and Jean Stein, whose father founded MCA-Universal.
- Married to New York University Russian scholar and Gorbachev enthusiast Stephen F. Cohen
- Fluent in Russian. Worked as reporter for state-run Moscow Times in U.S.S.R.
Through an interlocutor, vanden Heuvel objected to the statement that she is fluent in Russian and was a reporter for the Moscow Times (it was in fact the Moscow News) and - far more importantly - pointed out that she was a reporter only for a few weeks to cover Russia's first democratic elections. In other words, the bullet point (and related text) insinuated that she worked for the press of a Communist police state and she hadn't. When apprised of this mistake, we immediately removed the inaccurate point and published our correction.
2) When ABC's Jake Tapper called us directly to complain about a passage referring to him in our profile of the American Broadcasting Company, we immediately altered it and made it accurate to his satisfaction.
3) The DTN profile of an anti-Israel non-governmental organization named SUSTAIN (the acronym for "Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now") incorrectly stated that the group had received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Lowell Weiss, the Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Gates Foundation, alerted us to the fact that while the Gates Foundation does indeed support a group named SUSTAIN, that is not the same organization as the aforementioned NGO, but rather is a non-political group that works "to enhance quality assurance in fortified food aid commodities to improve nutrient delivery."
Once this mistake was pointed out to us, we corrected it within five minutes. Mr. Weiss, appreciative of our quick responsiveness, thanked us with the following note: "Thanks very much for returning my call . . . and for swiftly removing the incorrect information on the Discover the Network[s] website. As I mentioned, we do not provide funding to the Sustain campaign. I suspect the confusion resulted from the fact that we fund a different organization that also uses the name SUSTAIN. The group we are funding helps to improve nutrition in the developing world. Its website is www.sustaintech.org. Here are some links to announcements on our website about our support for this nutrition organization."
We replied to Mr. Weiss as follows: "[We're] glad you pointed out the error to us. [We] consider it very important to keep the information in our database as accurate as possible." To this, Mr. Weiss replied, "Thanks . . . I really appreciate your responsiveness."
4) Other readers wrote to inform us that antiwar writer Tariq Ali and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine founder George Habash had been incorrectly identified by DTN as Muslims. Another reader informed us that Ilan Pappe was not a former professor at Haifa University, as his DTN profile identified him, but rather that he still teaches there. And Paulette Sankofa wrote to tell us that she is no longer the director of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), a fact that her DTN profile did not yet reflect. We quickly and cordially made the necessary corrections to each of these items.
Future corrections can be found on this section of the DTN website.