The Wall Street Journal has denied Hong Huang’s claims that Rupert Murdoch fed them the Bo Guagua Ferrari rumour and that the paper was threatening a source which happened to be her friend.
Gawker’s John Cook writes:
I emailed Page this morning to ask if he had any comment on Hong Huang’s claims. Roughly an hour later, I received a call from the Journal‘s China editor Andrew Browne. “I know Hong Huang personally,” he said. “We know her very well. She deliberately chose not to contact us and check facts, and almost every piece of information she puts forward is not true. Let me be categorical: Rupert Murdoch had nothing to do with that story.” I pressed Browne on that point, and he crafted as definitive denial as possible: “There was no communication at any point between our bureau and Rupert Murdoch, nor was there any message passed on to us that passed through Rupert Murdoch directly or indirectly. He had nothing to do with it.”
As for the allegations that the Journal harassed and threatened a source, Browne went into a lengthy explanation of how Page reported out the initial anecdote. “That unnamed source was a person we contacted ahead of publishing our original story,” he said. “She did not respond to our questions. We sent repeated emails to Bo Guagua. He did not reply. We put questions to Jon Huntsman, and his wife. They chose not to reply. We did our due diligence.”
Months later, Browne says, this woman—whom he says was not a source for the original story—came to the Journal and claimed that the story was wrong. (This same source was one of the people the Times spoke to for its debunking.) Browne denies harassing the woman. Asked if he threatened to publish her identity, he grew circumspect. “The question of identity is really an issue of honesty,” he said. “It’s time for people to put their names to statements. I’m saying, ‘Let’s put names behind allegations.’ Is that a threat?”