'Washington Post' Debated 'Undocumented' Reporter's Veracity

Before his surprising revelation Wednesday on the website of The New York Times magazine that he is an undocumented immigrant, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas had worked with editors at one of his previous employers, The Washington Post, to tell the story on the Post's pages instead.

In fact, the Post was close to publishing Vargas' account, it reports today:

"But Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli killed the story several days before it was scheduled to be published. ... Brauchli declined to discuss the reasons for spiking Vargas's article."

Post reporter Paul Farhi does give us a clue, though, to the reason the Post spiked the story:

"Given the subject — a reporter's dishonesty about his personal life — The Post subjected Vargas's story to an unusual degree of scrutiny. One red flag popped up during weeks of checking: Vargas hadn't disclosed that he had replaced his expired Oregon driver's license with a new one issued by Washington state (the license had enabled Vargas to pass airport security and to travel to distant work assignments). Vargas later conceded that he had withheld the information on the advice of his attorney. The disclosure set off internal discussion about whether the newspaper was getting the full story from its former reporter."

We added the bold.

Vargas tells Farhi that he won't discuss the Post's reasons for not running the story.



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