Pathologist charges reporter used ‘inaccurate and misleading quotes’
That’s Dr. Judy Melinek, forensic pathologist and author of “Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner,” expressing her thanks to the Daily Kos. Why? Melinek was interviewed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the autopsy of Michael Brown and now disputes how she was quoted, an assertion defended at length by the Daily Kos.
On her blog, Melinek explains:
A reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch called me earlier this week, saying she had Michael Brown’s official autopsy report as prepared by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner, and asking me if I would examine and analyze it from the perspective of a forensic pathologist with no official involvement in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting death. I read the report, and spent half an hour on the phone with the reporter explaining Michael Brown’s autopsy report line-by-line, and I told her not to quote me – but that I would send her quotes she could use in an e mail. The next morning, I found snippets of phrases from our conversation taken out of context in her article in the Post-Dispatch. These inaccurate and misleading quotes were picked up and disseminated by other journals, blogs, and websites.
In the Dispatch’s published story, reporters Christine Byers and Blythe Bernhard quote Melinek as saying that “If he [Michael Brown] has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.” Melinek disputes making any such conclusion, writing on her blog:
There’s a big difference between “The hand wound has gunpowder particles on microscopic examination, which suggests that it is a close-range wound. That means that Mr. Brown’s hand would have been close to the barrel of the gun” and “he’s going for the gun.”
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to correct this, in my own words last night, when Lawrence O’Donnell invited me to appear as a guest on MSNBC.
There are other disputes between the two as well, but St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Blythe Bernhard is standing by what she wrote.
Bernhard seems to be losing this round with the public.
Melinek says she’s learned a couple of lessons from the experience.