Page last updated at 00:05 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

NY Times admits to fake letter

Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy is hoping to take over Hillary Clinton's Senate seat

The New York Times has said a letter purporting to be from the mayor of Paris that attacked Caroline Kennedy's bid for a Senate seat was a fake.

The letter, which was signed with the name of Bertrand Delanoe and printed in Monday's paper, called Ms Kennedy's bid "not very democratic" and "appalling".

The New York Times said it had failed to check whether the letter, which was sent by e-mail, was authentic.

It said it had expressed its regrets to Mr Delanoe's office in Paris.

The letter asked what title Ms Kennedy had to apply for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, who has been named secretary of state by US President-elect Barack Obama.

"We French have been consistently admiring of the American Constitution, but it seems that recently both Republicans and Democrats are drifting away from a truly democratic model," the letter said.

"Can we speak of American decline?"

The New York Times said in a statement on its web site that the letter should never have been published.

"Doing so violated both our standards and our procedures in publishing signed letters from our readers," it said.

The newspaper said it was reviewing its procedures for verifying letters to avoid a repetition of the incident.

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