Reviewing Rory Carroll's Reporting on Ecuador and Snowden

July 05, 2013

Stephan Lefebvre

Rory Carroll has been reporting on Ecuador and the Snowden case for the Guardian, but not without serious criticism.  Most outrageous was the headline on his most recent article, which may have not been the reporter’s doing: Rafael Correa not considering Snowden asylum: helping him was a ‘mistake.’

This is of course very misleading; Correa made it clear in his interview that providing travel documents was a “mistake,” since this is not Ecuador’s responsibility; and that he would consider asylum for Snowden if Snowden was in Ecuadorean territory. The headline tells the reader that Correa has abandoned Snowden, but anyone who reads it can see that if Snowden arrived at an Ecuadorean embassy, his application for asylum would be seriously considered, and very likely granted.

The Guardian has since corrected the headline.

Correa himself criticized Carroll’s reporting on the interview, saying:

Translation: “My statements for The Guardian totally decontextualized. Fortunately we have it taped. [We are] to not fall into the same trap of the very same as always!”

Translation: “The Guardian corrected the title of its article.  Will the diligent media that reprinted it do the same? Also there are errors in the translation.”

Translation: “We will upload the full interview with The Guardian onto the web. Our position has not changed at all.  Never have we said that our support for… Snowden in his right to request asylum was a mistake. Similarly, we maintain that what he revealed is very serious.”

Correa later wrote a longer tweet:

¿Rectificarán los medios que reprodujeron estas “imprecisiones”?

Entrevista con The Guardian desde el minuto 12:50:

Periodista: Pero, en su opinión ¿le gustaría conocerlo?

Presidente: No particularmente, es una SITUACIÓN muy complicada.

Traducción del diario: No personalmente, es una PERSONA muy complicada.

Ver el extracto en Al final, enlace a entrevista completa.


Will the media sources that produced these “imprecisions” make corrections?

Interview with The Guardian from minute 12:50:

Journalist: But, in your opinion, would you like to meet him?

President: Not particularly, it is a very complicated SITUATION.

Translation in the newspaper: Not personally, he is a very complicated PERSON.

See the clip here At the end there is a link to the full interview.

This change has been made in Rory Carroll’s article

Joe Emersberger has also written analysis of Carroll’s reporting. In one post he writes about how Carroll’s reporting allows only one perspective to be heard. In another post he writes about the corrections issued by the Guardian for the misleading content and headlines used in Carroll’s pieces. 

For a nice translation of the parts of the interview where Correa and Carroll speak about Snowden and Assange, see here.

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