That L.A. Times blog post about John Edwards’s denial of an extramarital affair received two major undisclosed edits before it was finally taken down Thursday night.
That’s right: I found more material that was scrubbed out. A Google News search for “Rielle Hunter website deleted” shows that the post once included this sentence:
That material was quietly removed before Pat Dollard extensively quoted the post.
(Then three more paragraphs were silently removed before I screencapped it. Then the post was taken down for a day and a half, and put back up only after I e-mailed Malcolm to ask where the post had gone. The new version had three more paragraphs removed. Also, numerous parenthetical remarks by Malcolm disappeared after that, without a hint that they had ever been there.)
Andrew Malcolm and his editors need to learn about Google News’s hidden cache. Mr. Malcolm, there will be a test later, so write this down:
Google News remembers what you published, even if you later delete it from your post. You can’t scrub away published material forever — because an excerpt of your deleted language still might show up in the Google News search.
For example, three paragraphs from the L.A. Times blog post were quoted by Pat Dollard, and were then scrubbed from the post before I ever saw it Thursday night. The first sentence of those three paragraphs reads: “Also today, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post posted an article and photograph about a woman named Rielle Hunter, also known as Lisa Druck.” If you plug those three names into Google News, you will pull up the entire sentence:
Got that, Mr. Malcolm? You can delete it — but we’ll still find it!
By the way, Mr. Malcolm, the current disclosure at the bottom of your post is wholly inadequate. My next post suggests a better one.