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Deconstructing the DNA of a Denver Post Pulitzer Finalist

Critics raise questions regarding an impressive Post series shortly after it's named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

In addition, Morrissey objected to two lines about LC Jackson, who was either a possible witness to the rape for which Moses-EL was imprisoned or the potential perpetrator; Jackson was later linked to another rape, and DNA led to his conviction. The Post story stated that "Denver police never questioned" Jackson and two other men, and one of Jackson's later rape victims speculated that her attack might have been prevented if police had quizzed him during the Moses-EL investigation. But Morrissey contends that both Jackson and one of the other men, Darnell Jackson, were, in fact, interviewed, and the former testified at trial.

Greene counters that the context of the article makes it clear that Jackson wasn't seen as a suspect, which Morrissey concedes — and managing editor Clark made the same point in his August 29 letter. "We could have been more clear by saying LC Jackson was never questioned AS A SUSPECT," he wrote, "but we think readers understood what we were saying."

None of that explains why the Post took more than a month to come to this decision. "It was certainly unusual," Morrissey says. "If we have something we're asking them to correct, I'll often get an immediate response." Instead, days dragged into weeks, and only an August 13 letter from Morrissey to Moore finally broke the logjam. According to Moore, the delay came about because of the thoroughness with which the Post looked into the subjects, but there was another factor, too: Greene had accumulated a lot of overtime and took six weeks of vacation, much of it out of town.

Moore guffaws at the notion that the Post declined to correct anything on the opus because the paper didn't want to stain its Pulitzer chances. Still, the politicking and spin that's attended the quest for the Prize threatens to obscure the series' achievement. Somewhere between the bickering about attribution and accuracy lies the "Truth."

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