Here’s the explanation from the New York Times public editor for why a fake letter made it into the paper:
In his nine years as editor of letters to the editor, Thomas Feyer figures he has read a million letters — and spotted more than one fake. But on Dec. 18, he was taken in by an e-mail message from someone claiming to be Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, who said Caroline Kennedy’s bid for the Senate was “a dynastic move” and “not very democratic.”
Feyer knew Delanoë to be outspoken and not always diplomatic, so he didn’t heed the little alarms that this might be a hoax: the e-mail address was paris.com instead of paris.fr, and there were none of the required contact telephone numbers. Feyer also should have been suspicious because the message carried an ad at the bottom, unlikely with government communication. But he said the fact that the real mayor’s name was in the originating address helped persuade him that the message was genuine. He has since learned how easy it is to create false e-mail addresses.
The letter was lightly edited and sent back to the writer for approval, as required by Times policy. Although there was no response, the letter went in the paper on Dec. 22. When the real mayor’s office objected, The Times apologized. “There were warning signs, “ Feyer said. “I should have held the letter.”
Having read that, I can’t believe that editor still has a job.
Read the other mistakes. They are equally ridiculous.