Guardian admits reporter fabricated stories, by Lee Glendinning.
[W]e acted immediately to investigate when sources claimed that they had not spoken with the writer of the piece they were quoted in.
The article in question, from February, was by a freelance journalist, Joseph Mayton, who began writing opinion pieces for the Guardian in London in 2009, while based in Egypt. He contributed several opinion pieces before starting to write occasional US news stories, on a freelance basis, in May 2015 from California. These stories ranged from coverage of wildfires to issues related to marijuana farms, urban vineyards and whale deaths on the coast. ..,
[W]e hired an independent fact-checker to investigate all of his prior work, which comprised of 37 single-byline articles published between 2015 and 2016, seven shared byline stories from the same period, and 20 opinion pieces written from 2009 to 2015.
In an investigation that included approximately 50 interviews, our fact-checker found articles that contained likely or confirmed fabrication, including stories about two events that organizers said he didn’t attend. Dozens of sources could not be found – either they had no online presence or they were anonymous and could not be substantiated – and several people quoted in Mayton’s articles either denied speaking with him or giving the quotes attributed to them.
Mayton has denied any fabrication, and did not provide any on-the-record comment about the findings of our investigation.