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Canada's National Post: My Bad

Last week, as you may recall, The National Post in Canada published a story claiming that the Iranian parliament has passed a law "that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims."

After the report, news organizations scrambled to confirm the potentially explosive story. It was mentioned on MSNBC and Fox News Channel, among other outlets. The New York Post ran the story under the full-page headline "Fourth Reich." But many news outlets, including CBS News, avoided it. "There are too many red flags here," CBS News Radio Executive Producer Charlie Kaye told me. "…at this point we're not comfortable putting it on the radio."

Yesterday the cautious got their vindication: The Post apologized for the story, which was sourced to "Iranian expatriates living in Canada."

"It is now clear the story is not true," National Post's editor in chief Douglas Kelly wrote in an editorial. "We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story." (The editorial does not presently seem to be available on the National Post website.)

As CNN notes, the Post at one point invited readers to share their opinions online concerning whether or not Iran is "turning into the new Nazi Germany?" Ouch. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper commented on the story when it looked like it might be true, and as a result, according to this story, "Canada's ambassador to Iran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in apparent diplomatic fallout from remarks by [Harper]."

Harper had said "...we've seen enough already from the Iranian regime to suggest that it is very capable of this kind of action." Yesterday, he expressed relief that the Iranian government was not considering instituting the law.

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