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Huffington Post Makes Sal the Cat Esposito a Famous Juror One Year Later

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

It can only be assumed that "Sal the Cat" is a proponent of "reduce, reuse, recycle": he's cutting paper costs and editors' time, with what may be the most recycled story yet. The cat's call for Boston jury duty story has even gone viral on Facebook -- but there's one flaw: Sal's rise to juror fame really occurred one year ago. But don't expect the American Bar Association Journal to have noticed on its own.

The real story of "Sal" Esposito, a family's pet cat who received a court summons to appear for jury duty service in Boston, Massachusetts, can be found at the attached link.

Sal's story seems to have all started (again) when a Huffington Post writer -- credited to the byline of Zoe Triska -- served up a story on Sal's legal duty and obligation for Boston area jury service. While the Esposito cat's story was posted by the Huffington Post writer January 13, 2011, Sal's jury duty saga actually occurred in January of 2010.

When the Huffington Post accidentally recycled Sal's story, more than one person wasn't paying attention. It seems that "Sal Esposito" became even more famous, his second time around, than during his initial "15 minutes" of fame in 2010. Outlets across the nation picked up the (year-old) news about "Sal". The media exposure even caused "Sal" to go viral on Facebook -- a status the cat never hoped to reach during the actual event.

Perhaps the funniest irony of all: while Sal Esposito couldn't gain the court's attention the first time around, to be rightfully excused from jury duty, the cat couldn't escape attention one year later: the American Bar Association's Online Journal picked up Sal's story -- to highlight, one year later, as a current event. For those that argue that the nation's legal system is desperately behind, your suspicion has been confirmed.

The American Bar Association Journal (kind of) made a "correction", but note the blame provided on the "ABAJournal" website in its (kind of) apology to readers:

"Corrected: The story was bound to generate a lot of buzz: Boston’s jury commissioner had refused to release Sal the cat from jury duty after his owners sought to disqualify him on the ground he cannot speak English...There's just one problem with the story, CBS News reports. It's a year old. It was picked up in 2011 by the Huffington Post, followed by the Fox story, followed by We linked to the Fox story as well as the year-old story, without noticing the 2010 dateline. More stories followed in the Toronto Star, the Daily Mail, the New York Daily News, a Washington Post blog and NPR, the CBS story says."

It's the 'we did it, but it wasn't really our fault because someone else did it, and we just linked to it...and, note, we're even less to blame because others did it after us' excuse.

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