Denver Fox affiliate, Examiner.com hoaxed by story of man being mistaken for a terrorist
TVSpy | Perazzi | KDVR | KUSA | Examiner.com
Denver TV station KDVR, a Fox affiliate, broadcast a story Saturday that claimed an Italian shotgun-company executive "was taken in for questioning by law enforcement" after a taxi driver mistook him for a terrorist. KDVR didn't speak to the executive, Daniele Perazzi, but to his "U.S. attorney," who "told FOX31 Denver that her client was scared during the incident because he’s not familiar with U.S. gun laws and thought he’d done something wrong."
Daniele Perazzi died in 2012. The "incident is devoid of any foundation and the news is completely fabricated," the company said in a statement.
And the woman who contacted the station wasn't an attorney, KDVR now says. But she wasn't the only one flogging the story, KDVR reports:
David Kopel, a nationally-recognized Second Amendment attorney with the Independence Institute in Denver, first told FOX31 Denver about the alleged incident Saturday. He referred us to Korrine Aguirre, who, it now appears, concocted an elaborate but false story.
Kopel has been visiting faculty at Poynter and recently spoke at a Poynter seminar on how to cover guns.
KDVR says Colorado NRA board member Steve Schreiner told it Aguirre "let him listen in on a phone call involving Aguirre and a person she claimed was a Perazzi lawyer. In the conversation, it appeared to Schreiner that Aguirre was speaking with the executive’s attorney as he was being questioned by police." Aguirre told Fox "Perazzi" "was too upset and shaken to do an on-camera interview."
KUSA-TV in Denver reported May 22 that "Serious questions" were swirling about the story. In a radio appearance, KUSA reported, KDVR reporter Julie Hayden said ""I think that something did happen. I think there is some essential truth to it."
David Codrea, who writes about gun rights for Examiner.com and writes a blog called The War on Guns, wrote about the incident, too, and his original story is now preceded by a note saying he wrote the piece because "I was sent an email from a very well-known Second Amendment attorney titled 'major urgent story.' " He declines to name the attorney, "As I protect my sources."
Before publishing the story, I sent it to the Colorado attorney who confirmed the story for an accuracy check, and she replied back that it was "well written" and "approved." She is also the one who told me that the Daniele Perazzi in the story was the grandson of the founder. I have the emails to document this.
KDVR says it has "seen a series of emails shared between Aguirre and with an Examiner.com reporter."
"The bottom line is, I went through an extraordinary level of verification on this story before publishing it," Codrea writes. In a follow-up story, he interviews Schreiner, who tells him, "I feel the same way that you do, and wish that I had never been called by the gun show manager to deal with this situation. ... We made the best of what information we had at the time, and did our due diligence, finding out differently."