AP Reports That the Story About an Irish Mass Grave Holding the Remains of 800 Children Was Greatly Exaggerated

Since we posted a couple of times about the Irish septic tank that supposedly held the remains of nearly 800 children who died in a nun-run institution, it’s only fair to correct that story in light of new information.

The Associated Press issued a major correction to the widely-reported story, saying that most of the media reports (included the sources we used in our postings) had been exaggerated:

Contrary to the allegations of widespread starvation highlighted in some reports, only 18 children were recorded as suffering from severe malnutrition.

The Associated Press was among the media organizations that covered [Catherine] Corless and her findings, repeating incorrect Irish news reports that suggested the babies who died had never been baptized and that Catholic Church teaching guided priests not to baptize the babies of unwed mothers or give to them Christian burials.

The reports of denial of baptism later were contradicted by the Tuam Archdiocese, which found a registry showing that the home had baptized more than 2,000 babies. The AP issued a corrective story on Friday after discovering its errors.

None of this is to excuse the substandard environment in those homes, but the reality is grim enough. There’s no need to make it sound any worse than it really is.

The downside of a site like this that deals with current events is that you’re often reliant on other, larger news sources for your information. When they get it wrong, the misinformation spreads quickly. For playing a part in that, I’m sorry. The best we can do is correct any false information that we inadvertently spread.

(via NPR)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.


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