New York Times fooled by online myth

The New York Times was forced to run a retraction after it was duped by a reader into publishing a long-running internet legend.

In its Metropolitan Diary section, which includes humourous observations written and sent by New Yorkers, the paper ran a contribution from one Dorothy Seeber, who recounted how a stranger in a neighbouring toilet cubicle had struck up a conversation with her.

“Then I heard the person say nervously: ‘Listen, I’ll have to call you back. There’s an idiot in the next stall who keeps answering all my questions’,” Ms Seeber wrote.

But the Times later corrected the piece when a blogger exposed the piece as a joke that has been circulating online for several years. “I’ve gotten it several times over the last several years, including from my mom,” said Steve Lubetkin.

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