Tuesday, September 07, 2004

"Booing Fallout" Continues

Much of the buzz over the AP booing story may have begun here, but the folks over at Power Line are doing excellent follow up work on this latest media scandal. First, here's an e-mail sent out to Tom Hays, who has been identified as the source of the one paragraph that launched a million retractions:
So, I want to know what you have to say for yourself. Were you actually at the West Allis rally? If not, from whom did you get the false information that the crowd booed? If you were at the rally, what was your basis for reporting that the crowd booed and President Bush did nothing to stop it? And what relationship, formal or informal, do you have with the Kerry campaign?

That's followed up by a response from Seth Borenstein of Knight-Ridder, who took the AP lie and passed on to countless other outlets. He admits that to a reader that the error came from the AP story:
This was not a case of me being a liar, but a simple fallable human who makes a mistake.

Yes, Scott, you simply took the AP report at it's word and made no attempt to confirm it.
Unfortunately in this politically charged atmosphere, people would rather accuse someone of being a liar than understanding that we are all humans, make mistakes and as the Bible says, deserve forgiveness.

That's a first....given how secular most in my profession seem to be.
As a science correspondent, I was writing, from Washington, a story on the Clinton surgery and heart problem. I was sent an insert about Kerry mentioning the Clinton surgery and I tried to balance it with something taken from AP on Bush mentioning it. Since much of the e-mail I am getting seems generated by some web site that vilifies reporters...
Powerline puts in an editor's note at this point saying, that's us, I guess, but given that their original post on this referred to Swimming Through the Spin, he could have meant this site, or even the Freepers, which was my source.
...I recommend you read the entire story instead of someone's edited version of it. When you do you will see this hardly a case of the media bashing Bush supporters. It is a case of a rushed reporter stupidly - and in error - using an AP story in half a sentence and not crediting AP.
He admits plagiarism?
I was in error not mentioning AP's contribution and in using what was later retracted by AP. When Knight Ridder learned of AP's retraction, we sent out similar correction Saturday at 3: 16 pm.
Too little too late, especially on a holiday weekend, when no one is likely to see such a retraction...