Patterico's Pontifications

10/25/2010

WaPo/AP Caught Revising the O’Donnell Story Without Issuing a Correction (Bumped) (Updated x3)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:29 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; cross posted at my blog]

Bumped: I have moved this post up for convenience.  Originally posted on October 20, at 11:29.

Update: Thanks to Instapundit and Memeorandum for the links. Please bear with us in that the site is getting more traffic than usual and the hamsters turning the wheels are getting tired.

Update (II): Welcome readers from Legal Insurrection.  Also I see now that Ace of Spades HQ caught the revision, but I guess wasn’t able to document it like I was able to.  (I accidentally preserved a copy.)

Also below DRJ provides a link to the official policies of the AP, including corrections.  Basically they are supposed to report changes unless it is a live event in progress.  So it appears to be a violation of their own policies.  This is exactly what I love about the blogosphere: it’s so “open source” that way.

————————

How much did the left show its keister on O’Donnell’s alleged gaffe?  So much so that the AP/WaPo story on the subject was almost completely rewritten last night, and without an official correction.  After the break I will have screen caps and a cut and paste of the text of the article, but let’s start with just the first paragraph.

Before:

WILMINGTON, Del. — Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.

After:

WILMINGTON, Del. — Republican Christine O’Donnell challenged her Democratic rival Tuesday to show where the Constitution requires separation of church and state, drawing swift criticism from her opponent, laughter from her law school audience and a quick defense from prominent conservatives.

Literally I ran a document comparison in Word between the original text and every paragraph is completely rewritten.  Update (III): At the end of the post I show that 76% of the words in the revised version of this article were not in the original.

Oh, and how hard has the AP worked to correct this story?  Well, here’s a google search of the original version, which apparently the AP is disowning.  As of this writing, I got about 23K hits for that.  By comparison I got 4K hits for the corrected version.

More after the break.

First, here is the bare text of the original article:

O’Donnell questions separation of church, state

By BEN EVANS

The Associated Press

Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 12:54 PM

WILMINGTON, Del. — Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.

The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O’Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons’ position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.

“You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate, adding that it raised questions about O’Donnell’s grasp of the Constitution.

Erin Daly, a Widener professor who specializes in constitutional law, said that while there are questions about what counts as government promotion of religion, there is little debate over whether the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from making laws establishing religion.

“She seemed genuinely surprised that the principle of separation of church and state derives from the First Amendment, and I think to many of us in the law school that was a surprise,” Daly said. “It’s one thing to not know the 17th Amendment or some of the others, but most Americans do know the basics of the First Amendment.”

O’Donnell didn’t respond to reporters who asked her to clarify her views after the debate. Her campaign manager, Matt Moran, later issued a statement saying that O’Donnell wasn’t questioning the concept of separation of church and state.

“She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution,” Moran said.

During the exchange, she said Coons’ views on creationism showed that he believes in big-government mandates.

“Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools,” she said. “You’ve just proved how little you know not just about constitutional law but about the theory of evolution.”

Coons said her comments show a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the Constitution.

The debate, their third in the past week, was more testy than earlier ones.

O’Donnell began by defending herself for not being able to name a recent Supreme Court decision with which she disagrees at a debate last week. She said she was stumped because she largely agrees with the court’s recent decisions under conservative chief justices John Roberts and William Rehnquist.

“I would say this court is on the right track,” she said.

The two candidates repeatedly talked over each other, with O’Donnell accusing Coons of caving at one point when he asked the moderator to move on to a new question after a lengthy argument.

“I guess he can’t handle it,” she said.

O’Donnell, a tea party favorite who stunned the state by winning the GOP primary last month in her third Senate bid in five years, called Coons a liberal “addicted to a culture of waste, fraud and abuse.”

Coons, who has held a double-digit lead in recent polls, urged voters to support him as the candidate of substance, with a track record over six years as executive of the state’s most populous county. He said O’Donnell’s only experience is in “sharpening the partisan divide but not at bridging it.”

And this is revised text which as of this writing can be found here:

O’Donnell questions separation of church, state

By BEN EVANS

The Associated Press

Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 9:27 PM

WILMINGTON, Del. — Republican Christine O’Donnell challenged her Democratic rival Tuesday to show where the Constitution requires separation of church and state, drawing swift criticism from her opponent, laughter from her law school audience and a quick defense from prominent conservatives.

“Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked while Democrat Chris Coons, an attorney, sat a few feet away.

Coons responded that O’Donnell’s question “reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is. … The First Amendment establishes a separation.”

She interrupted to say, “The First Amendment does? … So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?”

Her campaign issued a statement later saying O’Donnell “was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.”

Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh made the same point in his radio program soon after the debate, saying, “There’s nothing in the Constitution about separation of church and state.”

The controversy was the latest to befall O’Donnell in a race where she trails badly in the polls against Coons.

Coons is a county executive nominated by the Democrats for the seat held for years by Vice President Joe Biden. O’Donnell, with strong tea party support, burst into the national spotlight by winning the Republican primary over a longtime GOP congressman.

The subject of religion and the law came up during their debate at Widener University Law School as O’Donnell criticized Coons for saying that teaching creationism in public school would violate the Constitution.

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism – O’Donnell used the term “intelligent design” – but that under the “indispensable principle” of separation of church and state “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

He said the separation of church and state was one of a number of “settled pieces of constitutional law” worked out through years of legal development including Supreme Court decisions. He said a woman’s right to abortion was another.

He noted again the First Amendment’s ban on establishment of religion.

“That’s in the First Amendment?” she said, smiling.

Both candidates suggested that the exchange showed the other didn’t understand the Constitution.

The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The phrase “separation of church and state” is usually traced to President Thomas Jefferson. In a letter in 1802, he referred to the First Amendment and said that it built “a wall of separation between Church & State.”

The relationship of government and religion continues to be debated in American law. Many argue that the First Amendment’s reference to religion involves the establishment of any particular religion, an important concern to the American colonists, not a ban on all involvement between religion and government.

O’Donnell’s comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, created a stir in the audience.

“You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate.

Erin Daly, a Widener professor who specializes in constitutional law, said, “She seemed genuinely surprised that the principle of separation of church and state derives from the First Amendment, and I think to many of us in the law school that was a surprise.”

During the debate, O’Donnell argued that Coons’ views on teaching of theories other evolution showed that he believes in big-government mandates.

“Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools,” she said. “You’ve just proved how little you know not just about constitutional law but about the theory of evolution.”

Coons said evolution was science, creationism a religious doctrine.

O’Donnell upset Delaware’s Republican establishment last month with her victory in the primary, and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove has predicted she will cost the party a Senate seat.

Money has been pouring into her campaign from across the country – she raised nearly $4 million in just over a month through the end of September – but she has recently criticized the Republican establishment for not spending more to help.

And here are the screen caps.  First, this is a cap of the compare documents I ran.  I don’t know why the revision marks are not in color, but here is the code.  Strikethrough is deleted from the original.  Grey is newly inserted text.  Black text is present in both versions.

Please note that each of these screen caps take two entire screens to capture the text, so there will be some textual overlap between the two.  It also might help to open the image in a new tab or window and enlarge it.

And for the  record, here are the screen caps for the original:

And the revised version:

So why no official correction in this story?

Update (III) (continued): I ran a simple experiment to show how deeply the document had been revised.  First I went to the compare document and fished out every word after “WILMINGTON, Del” that was common to both documents.  So that is the black text.  Here are all the words in common:

Republican

Christine O’Donnell

Tuesday

First Amendment

religion

at Widener University Law School, as O’Donnell criticized

that teaching creationism in public school would violate the

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism

but that

“religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

the separation of church and state

the First

establishment of religion

in the First Amendment?

comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL

a

in the audience

You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate

Erin Daly, a Widener professor who specializes in constitutional law, said

“She seemed genuinely surprised that the principle of separation of church and state derives from the First Amendment, and I think to many of us in the law school that was a surprise

showed that he believes in big-government mandates.

“Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools,” she said. “You’ve just proved how little you know not just about constitutional law but about the theory of evolution.”

Coons said

Notice that most of that is not even a complete sentence.  I had Word count those words and it came out to 172.

Then I took the revised version, cut and pasted it into Word and had Word count every word after “WILMINGTON, Del.”  That came out to 726.  So out of the revised document, 554 of 726 words are new to the piece, or 76%.

It’s actually technically incorrect to call this a correction.  It’s a complete revision.

Finally I made a grammatical correction, because I forgot to capitalize the word “Word”.  So you see, I made a mistake and I corrected it, highlighting the fact I corrected it.  See how easy that was, AP/WaPo?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

159 Responses to “WaPo/AP Caught Revising the O’Donnell Story Without Issuing a Correction (Bumped) (Updated x3)”

  1. Wow.

    Apparently AW hasn’t learned that stories from wire services routinely get revised. It doesn’t mean that the original version was “wrong” or “incorrect” and that subsequent versions are “correct”; it just means the latter ones contain more information.

    Look, here’s something written by the AP’s Mark Sherman last night: Thomas’ wife seeks apology from accuser Anita Hill and here’s a different version this morning: Thomas’ Wife Seeks Apology from Anita Hill

    OMG! Whole paragraphs have been moved around! Additional information has been ADDED! All without an official correction!!! Liberal media conspiracy! Liberal media conspiracy!

    Seriously, AW. Before you bash the AP, a little understanding of how news services work might be called for at this point.

    Kman (d25c82)

  2. *Whispering*

    Pssst…. sadly, Aaron doesn’t realize that wire services like the Associated Press routinely update and revise their stories from time to time. It doesn’t mean that the original version is “incorrect” and subsequent versions are “correct”; it just means subsequent versions tend to have more information. That’s because that’s how information works. It’s a flow, you see.

    You can do this with ANY story. Why, here’s one version of an AP story: Thomas’ wife seeks apology from accuser Anita Hill and here’s another version the next morning: Thomas’ Wife Seeks Apology from Anita Hill.

    Paragraphs have been moved; whole sentences have been added, etc. And not an official correction!!!!

    Liberal media conspiracy? Or just the way news services operate?

    Anyway, don’t tell AW. He thinks he’s uncovered something BIG!

    *End whispering*

    Kman (d25c82)

  3. The phrase “separation of church and state” is usually traced to President Thomas Jefferson. In a letter in 1802, he referred to the First Amendment and said that it built “a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    Even then he gets it wrong, Thomas Jefferson did not reference the First Amendment and the letter. Also, as far as separation of church and state Thomas Jefferson had Congress purchase Bibles to be used in schools. He apparently felt that the Bible was important in education of our students.

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  4. The MFM is dishonest. In other news, water is wet.

    JD (c50049)

  5. Taney

    I think its a resonable interpretation of the story behind that letter and what jefferson was saying.

    But you are making a good point with the bibles. there is a real question of whether jefferson really meant what he said.

    Of course let’s also remember this is the same guy who said, “all men are created equal” but kept slaves. He had a history of saying one thing and doing another.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. Nice. I noticed the rewrite in passing at another site, and hoped someone would draw attention to it. I’m sure the AP would say it’s SOP to rewrite copy throughout the day, but it’s ridiculous that an outlet like Slate has a more transparent corrections policy than the AP.

    Karl (f07e38)

  7. Exactly, Tanny!

    What people mean when they say ‘separation of church and state’ is radically unlike what Jefferson meant in that letter, which was the much more obvious ‘no state church’ point.

    It’s interesting that the left wants to make this entire discussion off limits. O’Donnell deserves a prominent apology because this is a major smear at the last moments of the election. I also think it’s embarrassing that students were snickering (if they were) when O’Donnell was explicitly asking if a phrase appeared, and was quite right it did not.

    Indeed, a constant cry against O’donnell is that she will impose some kind of radical religion on people, even though that’s the opposite of her position of letting locals decide for themselves. Coons is documented as wanting to impose his views, and bar views he disagrees with. He thinks the constitution requires something that doesn’t appear in it, and he tends to abuse his power.

    On this issue, O’donnell is clearly superior, whether you’re libertarian or conservative or classically liberal. Only a statist wanting to run all communities thinks she’s worse on this issue.

    And make no mistake, O’Donnell is consistent and powerfully spoken on letting locals handle these issues themselves. She did not just blurt that out to escape this issue.

    This ‘she doesn’t know about the first amendment because she’s stupid’ myth has come exclusively from morons who haven’t paid attention or don’t even care if they are wrong.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. At a political function, always….ALWAYS….carry a pocket-sized copy of the Declaration and Constitution (w/Amendments)
    to confound your opponents with the actual language of the two.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  9. Gee, she asked him where in the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment does it say that there is “separation of church and state”, and he cited court precedent that declared it to be the case.

    In other words . . . she was correct, while the liberal media (including the anchor & reporter I saw discussing this story on CNN this morning) label her as ‘out of touch’ on this issue.

    Icy Texan (3578a8)

  10. Excellent post, Aaron, and congratulations on a well-deserved Instapundit link.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  11. Hmmm…. Aaron seems to be blocking my comments here.

    Try it one more time.

    Kids, the Associated Press updates and revises its stories all the time. It doesn’t mean one version is “correct” and they are pulling a fast one. It’s just that more information comes in, so sentences get added, paragraphs move around, etc.

    Kman (d25c82)

  12. Because try are dishonest all the time, that somehow makes it right?

    JD (c50049)

  13. Kman, I think that they should correct their major error, even if they do this “all the time” as you say.

    People are still relying on the wrong version of events.

    And while it’s hard to prove they are trying to pull a fast one in any specific case, I have long noticed these errors generally favorable to the political bias of the MSM.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  14. Here, for example, is a recent AP story, and here is a revised version of the same story (same author, etc.). No “correction” because there is nothing to be corrected.

    The idea that the left wing media must tacitly know it is doing something wrong — because they are revising their story without an official correction — shows a remarkable lack of understanding about how news wire services work.

    Kman (d25c82)

  15. An InstaPundit link … the big time

    quasimodo (4af144)

  16. Kman, I think that they should correct their major error, even if they do this “all the time” as you say.

    What’s the error?

    Kman (d25c82)

  17. Kman,

    No one is blocking your comments. This post was just linked by the Instapundit and that may slightly slow down how comments post.

    Further, the AP has a policy on corrections: If you change something, you note it:

    When we’re wrong, we must say so as soon as possible. When we make a correction in the current cycle, we point out the error and its fix in the editor’s note. A correction must always be labeled a correction in the editor’s note. We do not use euphemisms such as “recasts,” “fixes,” “clarifies” or “changes” when correcting a factual error.

    In fact, shouldn’t this policy be especially true for the AP, where it has already delivered the product to buyers and the AP knows are going to publish it?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  18. Kman, I think that they should correct their major error, even if they do this “all the time” as you say.

    What’s the error?

    Kman (d25c82)

  19. Further, I’m not aware of any special AP rule for corrections. If you change something, you note it.

    It’s not a correction. There’s nothing to correct.

    Right now, I can find two AP stories written by the same guy on the Anita Hill thing. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to give the links. But the point it… tt’s not that one is “incorrect” and the other is “correct”. They are just different versions of the same story.

    In fact, Aaron’s little trick of comparing the documents doesn’t take into account that when whole paragraphs are moved, they aren’t actually changed, but moved. It really wasn’t “almost completely rewritten”, certainly not substantively.

    Kman (d25c82)

  20. It’s not a correction. There’s nothing to correct.

    That’s proven wrong. Read Aaron’s excellent coverage of this very topic… right up there at the top of this page.

    Congrats on the instalanche, Aaron.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  21. i will make sure kman’s comments are not being blocked.

    as for the claim that they do it all the time, look at the compare document. Every single paragraph has been significantly revised. There is barely anything in common with the original text and the revised version. That is not an update, that is a complete rewrite.

    If it was correcting a typo here and there, i wouldn’t have bothered. Or if they just had an acknowledgment that the rewrote most of it, okay. But they rewrote the whole story from a version that made it clear that the reporter thought she said something stupid or radical, to a much more balanced report.

    And again, there are 23,000 hits for the original text, and 4,000 for the revised. although i suspect this post might make that number go up.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  22. Kman:

    It’s not a correction.

    So you equate this lead statement by the WaPo:

    “O’Donnell … questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.”

    With this:

    “O’Donnell challenged her Democratic rival Tuesday to show where the Constitution requires separation of church and state …”

    You contend these statements convey the same meaning?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  23. It’s called a “row back”, the intent of which is to claim to have corrected an earlier mistake while taking care not to alert readers of the earlier story that there’s any problem.

    Richard Aubrey (59fa91)

  24. C’mon guys….

    If the AP is revising its story to backtrack or cover up some “gaffe” in the original version, and we have right here the “original version”, then why oh why can’t someone here point to what the actual gaffe IS?

    Is that too hard?

    Kman (d25c82)

  25. I think AW has already done what you’ve asked for in his post above.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  26. You contend these statements convey the same meaning?

    No, but they don’t have the same meaning, but neither one is untrue.

    Here’s an AP story about Anita Hill, and here’s a revised one. Same AP story. Same author. But different opening grafs. Is one a “corrected” version and the other one bogus?

    Kman (d25c82)

  27. It’s called a “row back”, the intent of which is to claim to have corrected an earlier mistake while taking care not to alert readers of the earlier story that there’s any problem.

    Comment by Richard Aubrey

    I’ve never heard that excellent term. You’re precisely right.

    Kman, I think Aaron explicitly answered your objections in 16 (that this isn’t a correction) and 19 (what’s the problem they are wrong about?) in his blog post, before you raised the issues.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  28. You contend these statements convey the same meaning?

    No, but they don’t have the same meaning, but neither one is untrue.

    [a href=”http://www.thestate.com/2010/10/19/1520945/justice-thomas-wife-tries-to-contact.html” target=”_blank”]Here’s[/a] an AP story about Anita Hill, and [a href=”http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/moving_america_news/22893″ target=”_blank”]here’s[/a] a revised one. Same AP story. Same author. But different opening grafs. Is one a “corrected” version and the other one bogus?

    Kman (d25c82)

  29. DRJ

    No, kman is right. Its not a correction. A correction is when you make a small change.

    This is a complete rewrite.

    I’m glad he set me straight. /sarcasm.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  30. You contend these statements convey the same meaning?

    No, but they don’t have the same meaning, but neither one is untrue.

    Here’s an AP story about Anita Hill:

    http://www.thestate.com/2010/10/19/1520945/justice-thomas-wife-tries-to-contact.html

    …..and here’s a revised one:

    http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/moving_america_news/22893

    Same AP story. Same author. But different opening grafs. In fact, they are quite different, if only because one contains more information (reactions, etc.)

    Is one a “correct” version and the other one bogus?

    No.

    Kman (d25c82)

  31. Kman is right, the spam filter was catching a bunch of posts. They have been released.

    The problem is too many links, i think. its what keeps biting us in the behind.

    i would tell kman to email me when he is being blocked, but given his creepy stalkerish behavior in the past, i have put him on permanent email block and i am not changing it for this. I guess in the future you shouldn’t stalk people, kman.

    And i am not kidding about him stalking me. this is the fourth forum he has followed me into.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  32. They did it before therefore it is okay. The stalkerish person sure seems intent on providing cover for them, even though they do not live up to their own standards, as DRJ noted. M
    Knotman just wants to pay LOOK BUNNIES!!!!!!

    JD (c50049)

  33. Hahaha.

    Yes, Kman questions the integrity of AW’s post, and NOW gets blocked for “stalkerish” behavior (whatever the hell that means).

    Only Kool-Aid drinkers here!!!

    Kman (d25c82)

  34. So the editorial “expert” above uses a completely unrelated article to prove his point? Give it up, you’ve beclowned yourself.

    Remember, kmart’s just asking questions.

    Dmac (84da91)

  35. Wait a minute, are you saying that kmart’s another version of timmah? Why is it that the Left usually engages in the most creepyish behavior after they’ve been embarassed?

    Dmac (84da91)

  36. My point is that this ain’t a “gotcha”. Like all wire services, AP revises stories all the time without issuing a correction. Their stories are constantly updated, because the flow of information isn’t static. And what may have been an entire paragraph in one earlier version, may become reduced to a simple sentence — or struck altogether — in a subsequent version.

    Just because stories develop doesn’t mean that earlier versions are incorrect.

    It happens EVERYDAY.

    Kman (d25c82)

  37. I think Kman’s bitter.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  38. And not smart.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  39. Mostly frustrated at the comment snafu. But I’m over it.

    Kman (d25c82)

  40. Like all wire services, AP revises stories all the time without issuing a correction.

    The amount of spin that’s been displayed here would give most normal individuals severe whiplash. But since this one’s quite dysfunctional and possibly bi – polar, no biggie.

    Dmac (84da91)

  41. It happens EVERYDAY.

    You know when you’ve won the argument as soon as the opponent starts using ALL CAPS TO MAKE HIS OBVIOUS POINT.

    Dmac (84da91)

  42. My point is that this ain’t a “gotcha”. Like all wire services, AP revises stories all the time without issuing a correction.

    It’s pretty lousy that you said you questioned someone’s integrity if this is indeed your point.

    At any rate, your beef is with AP’s own policies that DRJ helpfully showed you. You say it’s OK to break that policy and change the content of stories, without bringing attention to these major changes, for those who already read the old version of the story.

    It’s not from a lack of integrity that people think that is unprofessional, or are so sick of these stealth corrections in the MSM usually tilting to the left.

    BTW, your links don’t support your claims. That’s annoying.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  43. I think kman is a lying douchenozzle that is being his typical mendoucheous self. DRJ pointed out their own standards, that they fail to live up to. But if it “seems” one way to kmart, then it is so.

    JD (ffe6ea)

  44. Kman,

    You want to compare this to other AP non-corrections? We’ve been down this road before.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  45. BTW, did we ever find out who that “Iraqi police captain” was, the one the Iraqi Government had no knowledge of?

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  46. Is bitterly clinging to AP rewrites better than bitterly clinging to the actual Constitution?

    I don’t know nor care. No bitterness left for the Animal Farm antics of the leftards. I’m gonna party like it’s 1773

    setnaffa (2b52c2)

  47. Jefferson opened federal buildings for religious services. Maybe he was thinking of a wall with pointy spikes on one side & a ladder on the other side.

    Tom (aff016)

  48. Jefferson, like many of the Founders, believed that Government should not impose itself upon religion, but had no problem with religious people, and views, being interjected into government. Wasn’t it Adams who said that a Republic/Democracy could not work unless the People were Pious and/or Moral?

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  49. I was checking out the O’Donnell/Coons debate event page on http://law.widener.edu yesterday. The page had the long debate summary and made the same argument that Christine O’Donnell is ignorant because she questioned appearance of phrase “separation of church and state” in constitution. Now that page is replaced with very short geneneral information about the event.

    The new page URL is here:

    http://law.widener.edu/NewsandEvents/Articles/2010/de101910coonsodonnelldebate.aspx

    I don’t know whether original page used same URL, but I think the title was the same. I’m wondering whether there is a way to find google cache for this. I can’t look into this more now because I am at work. But I may still have cache in my home computer browser. I wish someone will look into this, because these people flat out lie and quietly remove the page/article without correction.

    JK (a7ec92)

  50. Suddenly there sprang into his mind, ready made as it were, the image of a certain Comrade Ogilvy, who had recently died in battle, in heroic circumstances. There were occasions when Big Brother devoted his Order for the Day to commemorating some humble, rank-and-file Party member whose life and death he held up as an example worthy to be followed. Today he should commemorate Comrade Ogilvy. It was true that there was no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into existence.

    Patrick (a78666)

  51. JK

    if you can remember any quote from the original, do this.

    Put it into a google search with quotations around it

    then try the cache option.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  52. I do not think O’Donnell is dumb. I don’t really trust her, but I don’t think she is dumb. She was simply making a point about the actual words…but then again, we all know how the left uses stuff like this, we all know that given half a chance they will jump on something like this…so why give them half a chance? She could have said that she is well aware that most people believe that the Constitution uses the words separation of church of state..but in fact it says something else and then say what that something else is…rather than opening herself up for this kind of ridicule.

    I do believe there is a certain snobbery on the left when it comes to dealing with conservatives and that needs to be kept in mind when dealing with them..if people don’t then things like this will just keep happening.

    Terrye (3d4bc9)

  53. At any rate, your beef is with AP’s own policies that DRJ helpfully showed you.

    Those were the policies for making a correction following an error. Once again, a revision of a story does not necessarily mean there was an error. In fact, it usually doesn’t.

    Nobody has shown me the error in the original version — only that it has been revised. And I know you people understand the difference.

    Kman (0ad479)

  54. JK

    Cache

    Google a url with cache: in front of it (no space), and we see that jk’s memory is right. They massively changed their coverage.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  55. Someone should send this link to the WaPo editors…and show them they’ve been caught.

    RIch Vail (996c34)

  56. “Gee, she asked him where in the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment does it say that there is “separation of church and state”, and he cited court precedent that declared it to be the case. ”

    Just watch the video. He says we have a principle of “Separation of church and state” and she asks “where in the constitution is separation of church and state.”

    imdw (8bb588)

  57. kmart says who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes? Truly, a sign of a brilliant intellect.

    Dmac (84da91)

  58. That kmart thinks the original version, and susequent meme pushed by Leftists, was accurate is not the least bit surprising.

    JD (6ca166)

  59. Oops, sorry I wrote too quickly. Jefferson did refer to the 1st amendment in the letter.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions — I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I bolded the relevant text. This is what I get when I comment from my phone.

    However, wasn’t the letter originally written to assure a member of the Dansbury church that the government wouldn’t take over the church?

    Why was prayer okay for so long before the start of school?

    Shouldn’t a person, when interpreting the Constitution look at how it was applied during the time it was written? If the supreme court interpreted it differently, then isn’t the supreme court wrong? I know that when interpreting the Bible, you have to do it in relation to what society did at the time the text was written.

    For instance the 8th amendment:

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    If hanging was not considered cruel and unusual when it was written, why is hanging considered cruel and unusual now?

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  60. Whether this was a correction, rewrite, or update, the fact remains, The Washington Post substituted the second AP article under the same headline and URL.
    It would seem the beef should be with the Post.

    jeff (d629fd)

  61. Comment by Aaron Worthing — 10/20/2010 @ 12:05 pm

    “I think its a resonable interpretation of the story behind that letter and what jefferson was saying.”

    If we are thinking of the same letter, I don’t agree. His point was very close to the one in the first amendment. That the government shouldn’t fund a particular religious sec’s preacher at a university.. but it could fund not only the university… but also the department that studied all religions.

    Despite his use of the phrase, it neatly fits with the first amendment as worded.

    The leftist understanding comes from a 5/4 court decision decided more by anti Catholic bigotry than law or precedent. It is another one of those ironies that no one talks about… but have a non leftist talk about federalism…and you are a bigot…

    Thomass (8d31d7)

  62. Since the AP is a wire service it is a little difficult to retract an erroneous article.
    If they blew the story in a previous attempt and have submitted a rewrite it would seem logical to acknowledge the fact.
    Does the AP notify their clients there is a new version of a story and suggest they replace the old text? That would seem to imply some complicity and a need to explicitly own up to the change.

    jeff (d629fd)

  63. From Widener’s web page, before they covered it up:

    The law school audience reacted strongly to O’Donnell’s lack of familiarity with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Coons too seemed bemused at O’Donnell’s question, calling the separation of church and state “an indispensable principle” of the Constitution and noting, “Religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

    They are actually proud their students reacted they way they did, completely incurious,and apparently unwilling to even hear O’Donnell out. They completely misstate O’Donnell’s point that this phrase isn’t there.

    It’s true, Coons was bemused. He was confused and unable to answer her question correctly. It’s quite plain O’donnell was familiar with the actual clauses of the amendment, because how else would she know that a particular clause is not in that amendment? They pretend a completely legitimate viewpoint, one articulated by many scholars and a recent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is impossible, by rephrasing that viewpoint in an absurd way.

    Of course, Widener realizes this is an unfair description. After all, they quickly cut all that crap out (same URL as before, only not a cache).

    O’Donnell is arguing for a limitation on the federal government, no more, no less, and in line with the US Constitution’s plain meaning. Widener is a national embarrassment.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  64. See http://spinswimming.blogspot.com/2004/09/ap-bias-strikes-again.html, a story from 2004 about the quality of AP fabricated news.

    cboldt (6df4b9)

  65. Take it from this atheist. . . freedom of religion and no establishment does in no way mean Freedom From Religion.
    To read it any other way is foolish.
    If the founders intended the total lack of a deity in all gov’t, we would not have In God We Trust and Endowed By Their Creator in some of our most important bit of forming papers and money.

    JP (ca1e4a)

  66. Kman tries his best to convince us of AP’s “tautological” efforts. But I must very kindly say to him “that’s not an astute political point”.

    For Kman’s benefit: Tautology (rhetoric), using different words to say the same thing even if the repetition does not provide clarity.

    Sooner1 (056839)

  67. Kman:

    Nobody has shown me the error in the original version — only that it has been revised.

    From the original article:

    Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

    “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked him.

    When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

    From the corrected article:

    “Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked while Democrat Chris Coons, an attorney, sat a few feet away.

    Coons responded that O’Donnell’s question “reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is. … The First Amendment establishes a separation.”

    She interrupted to say, “The First Amendment does? … So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?

    The AP/Washington Post article literally changed the words in her quote. If that isn’t considered a correction, nothing is.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  68. As for why that change matters, it changed her statement from a clueless question to a pointed challenge … not to mention the author put words in her mouth.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  69. Well argued, DRJ.

    It’s kinda frustrating that such an obvious point needs to be carefully demonstrated, but absolutely they changed her quote in a way that turned a reasonable point into a clueless question.

    The problem for Widener’s students is they couldn’t even fathom this basic argument is possible, even though it’s so well known some people are calling it tired.

    This is a valid political question. Someone should be able to discuss this type of issue without a law school audience acting like democraticunderground or newspapers misquoting the relevant discussion.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  70. I think there is something that bears repeating– the Left is not, and has never been, particularly interested in having an “honest” debate with anyone, or being “right” for that matter. They are interested in POWER, period. If laughing at Ms. O’Donnell is a path to shutting her up, so be it. Can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

    Half of the Lefties in this country would be just a happy putting Tea Partyers in a gulag as they would be defeating them in a debate. By any means necessary, baby.

    mike (2596c0)

  71. My exchange with the Post’s ombudsman (last first):
    ………………………………….
    (Me): Do you really intend to assert that the Post makes no claim of accuracy in the material it transmits? If so, why should not readers get their political news from a Ouija board?

    Okay. It was all AP and the Post had nothing to do with it. Now you have a story: “AP twists news to favor Democrat Coons”. When will we see that?



    (crickets).
    ………………………………………..
    From: Ombudsman Internet DropBox
    To: Kirkpatrick Malcolm
    Cc: ombudsman@washpost.com
    Sent: Wed, October 20, 2010 12:23:03 PM
    Subject: Re: O’Donnell, First Amendment

    Thanks for writing. The story and its various updated versions were written by the Associated Press. Is there any connection to The Washington Post other than the fact that the stories flowed onto The Post’s Website?

    Best wishes,
    Andy Alexander
    Washington Post Ombudsman
    ……………………………………….
    Kirkpatrick Malcolm
    10/20/2010 06:16 PM
    To ombudsman@washpost.com
    cc
    Subject O’Donnell, First Amendment
    Sir,
    Compare the Post’s first version of the Coons/O’Donnell encounter with the revised version. Patterico and Ace of Spades nailed the Post’s deception.

    Here’s Ace: “To truncate the quote, as Ben Evans did, or as local radio WDEL did, or as all the liberals on MSNBC did, is to deliberately make it appear that she is arguing about something she’s not arguing about.
    That is the what they intended, of course. And they got that. And now, 24 hours later, when that initial false impression has been put into the minds of voters, they stealth-correct and run the whole quote.”

    Here’s Patterico: “Also below DRJ provides a link to the official policies of the AP, including corrections. Basically they are supposed to report changes unless it is a live event in progress. So it appears to be a violation of their own policies….
    How much did the left show its keister on O’Donnell’s alleged gaffe? So much so that the AP/WaPo story on the subject was almost completely rewritten last night, and without an official correction.”

    Here’s the Post Ombudsman: “Fabrication is a major journalistic transgression. He’s lucky he wasn’t fired.”

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick (cd248b)

  72. I guess the Post needs to fire the AP.

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick (cd248b)

  73. Wapo’s already being fired – by their dwindling readership. To make matters worse for their corporation’s earnings, they sold their failure of a magazine for the grand total of…one dollar. This, despite having a much better offer from a group known to have conservative connections. Nice fiduciary duty, that.

    Dmac (84da91)

  74. DRJ,

    guess you proved your point as kman has skulked away and is nowhere to be seen.

    The first line of the original biased article infuriates me because it’s the exact same thing they did to Governor Palin. Misquote then spread the lie miles wide before the truth ever has the opportunity to put its boots on.

    NJRob (9d6af1)

  75. “before the truth ever has the opportunity to put its boots on.”

    That’s why, trust me, if you’re in a war you never take your boots off. Loosen the laces perhaps, but always ready.

    mike3/9 (5fe7d2)

  76. “For corrections on live, online stories, we overwrite the previous version. We send separate corrective stories online as warranted.”

    Just curious. Does anyone actually know what a “live, online” story consists of? Not opinion, but what the actual guidelines for saying that a story is “live, online”? You may say it’s only fitting for immediate reaction, they may consider any number of hours after as still being worthwhile for “online”.

    If the AP judged that this story fit their criteria, a whole bunch of people look awfully foolish by demanding they do things that they clearly say they aren’t planning on doing.

    Dave (3e65b7)

  77. I suspect the AP treats as “live, online stories” anything that hasn’t gone to print, but it’s beyond me how the AP can know the precise point a subscriber prints a story.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  78. The main point about the Jefferson letter is that it was written 13 years after the 1st amendment, by someone who had no role in writing or passing it. Jefferson’s opinion on the proper roles of church and state, or any other matter of constitutional interpretation, is irrelevant; he was a spectator to the whole process.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  79. kman keeps asking what the problem was in the first article that was corrected. I realize that he’s being intentionally obtuse in order to spin this in a way that causes him less cognitive dissonance, but I hate to leave a challenge like that unaddressed.

    In the original article, O’Donnell was quoted as having asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

    Except…that’s not an accurate quotation.

    The CORRECTED version includes the accurate quote: “…So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?”

    That, my friend, is a correction of a factual error. The quote was wrong in the first piece and was corrected in the second. And because of that correction, the entire basis of the first (hit) piece was undermined, requiring a complete rewrite of the column in order for it to even make any sense.

    Sailorcurt (94f5d9)

  80. The term “separation of church and state” was unknown in American jurisprudence until 1947, when it was introduced by former Klansman Hugo Black.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  81. . . . and then you said “F*ck you, the Constitution says what I say it says!”

    You know, you need to be in Costa Rica in the morning.

    AC (f77063)

  82. Get used to it.

    Conservatives are going to illicit howls from the hyena left any time they quote anything remotely Constitutional.

    The left sneers at the Founders as old white slave owners who wore silly wigs.

    They, and they only, in their infinite enlightenment, will determine how to read and apply this antiquated, dusty old document of yore.

    Ignore them. Speak the truth. Vote.

    NEW POST:

    HOMELAND SECURITY UNVEILS NEW BORDER SECURITY STRATEGY: LOSE YOUR JOB!
    http://heir2freedom.blogspot.com/2010/10/homeland-security-unveils-new-border.html

    heir2freedom (d9456e)

  83. Kman is right. There is absolutely nothing unusual about this AP rewrite, and certainly nothing fishy. It’s standard operating procedure.

    Wire journalism is not static. AP copy is fluid and ever-changing, often in significant ways. Stories get overhauled, redrafted, completely transformed. Angles get fleshed out or discarded; new context is introduced. It’s the very nature of the thing.

    It’s always been this way — it’s just that you used to have to be in a newsroom (or somewhere with access to the wire) to catch the process in motion. Now the Internet has provided a window for anybody who cares to watch. So hearing someone exclaim, “Oh my God, they dramatically changed the story!” is like hearing a first-time basketball watcher say, “Why don’t they just hold onto that orange ball and run with it?!”

    Go ahead, call me a “leftist” or whatever. I’m not. I’m a diehard Tea Partier who’s totally behind O’Donnell here, and who also think she’s been treated unfairly by the establishment and the press, including after yesterday’s debate. It’s just that while there are plenty of things to slam the media for, this isn’t remotely one of them. This post is off-base and, with all due respect, kind of naive.

    TomT (c12974)

  84. TomT,

    this is in violation of AP’s own policy not to note the major changes.

    Of course they fixed their massive errors. You note she was treated unfairly, well in this case, the unfairness should be noted instead of covered up.

    You’re right, the internet has made it easier to catch democrat shills in the media. I don’t understand your complaint, though. You note the unfairness… why can’t AP do that?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  85. They got it wrong the first time, they truncated both the quote, and apparently the WDEL link did
    the same, and then they correct. those layers of editors always seem to lean in the same direction,
    and the fact that Coons, the graduate of Amherstand Yale Law, couldn’t name the freedoms in the 1st Amendment would seem a larger story, but they chose
    not focus on it

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  86. And TomT, the most blatant point many are bringing up is that O’Donnell was simply quoted wrong, in a way that makes her look terrible.

    How is this post off-base again?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  87. I know exactly what happened: The original AP writer went along with the narrative, then some nobody copy editor said, “wait a minute,” then a senior editor said amend the copy.

    So, you can look at this two ways: the original AP writer was too dumb to look at the wording of the Constitution and went along with the prevailing meme or when confronted with the actual wording of the First Amendment, the senior editor said we should make this right.

    I’ll leave to others to argue the points of what the AP should have done, but the Constitution is abundantly clear: O’Donnell was correct.

    Ag80 (743fd1)

  88. I absolutely cannot wait for there to be no separation between church and state. I cannot wait for the government to be able to tell the church what they can and cannot preach. Oh…wait…you far-right wing radical extremists thought it only went one way. Hmmm. I don’t think you thought your cunning plan through all of the way.

    CLee (6a4fac)

  89. this is in violation of AP’s own policy not to note the major changes.

    No, it’s not in violation of AP’s policy. I’ve worked in a major metropolitan newsroom for three decades. There isn’t anything remotely unusual about this particular story.

    And just so you know: Changes are noted with every AP writethru. They’re listed atop each story transmission; they’re not part of the copy itself. When a client publishes a version of a story, you — the reader — see the story copy, not all the internal blah-blah that had accompanied it.

    Again with all due respect, I don’t think you grasp the dynamics of live journalism. And you apparently are expecting or demanding something from it that it does not purport to offer. Ongoing wire stories are not final drafts. They frequently undergo significant transformation as they go. There often are dozens of updated versions of a breaking story.

    Of course they fixed their massive errors. You note she was treated unfairly, well in this case, the unfairness should be noted instead of covered up.

    What you’ve decided to label “massive errors” is simply the story in motion. Context is fleshed out, new interpretations added — while poor context and misinterpretations are weeded out.

    You’re right, the internet has made it easier to catch democrat shills in the media.

    That might well be the case, but it’s not actually what I wrote. What I wrote is that the Internet has provided a public window into the process of wire writethrus, a window that previously happened to be limited to wire subscribers.

    I’m just curious what the accusation here is supposed to be, anyway, given that you’re OK with the later version of the piece. Is it that the AP’s writethru staff was arbitrarily biased at noon Tuesday, but not at 9 p.m.? I mean, what is the point about the AP supposed to be, when all is said and done?

    TomT (c12974)

  90. One would have to take the Olde English” Common Law definition of “respecting” to understand what the founders meant. The word “respecting” in Olde English meant: “favoring”. As in: Congress shall make no laws “favoring” an establishment of religion”—as was done in England when, by LAW, the Anglican Church of England was “favored” above all others! This is SO VERY SIMPLE, even an 8th. grader could understand it! There WAS NOT a “separation of church and state”, even in the 1800’s—as each branch of government was opened by “common Protestant prayer”, and the ministers WERE PAID BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH! WHY is this SO DIFFICULT to “understand”? It’s because there are those who DON’T WANT TO UNDERSTAND THIS!

    DixT (52ccf8)

  91. TomT, the policy is black and white and linked at the top of the page. Your personal experience is not particularly helpful.

    You ask what “I’m just curious what the accusation here is supposed to be, anyway, ”

    They quoted O’Donnell wrong in a way that made her look terrible, unfairly.

    What does this have to do with ‘context is fleshed out’ and a story in motion?

    The AP flat out was wrong, and hid it. thousands of people read something that isn’t true, and will never read the ‘correction’ because even that’s been hidden.

    This is basic stuff. IF you’re OK with it, you’re part of the problem with journalism.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  92. They’re listed atop each story transmission; they’re not part of the copy itself. When a client publishes a version of a story, you — the reader — see the story copy, not all the internal blah-blah that had accompanied it.

    It’s not blah blah. It’s “we completely misled the public about the major detail of our coverage, in a way that really makes someone look terrible, simply because we were totally wrong”.

    You call that ‘blah blah’? You think some policy statement would make this acceptable?

    anyway, here’s the policy you do not understand, despite your experience:

    It means we must be fair. Whenever we portray someone in a negative light, we must make a real effort to obtain a response from that person. When mistakes are made, they must be corrected – fully, quickly and ungrudgingly.

    This is not a full correction. A full correction will note the damn error.

    When we’re wrong, we must say so as soon as possible. When we make a correction in the current cycle, we point out the error and its fix in the editor’s note. A correction must always be labeled a correction in the editor’s note. We do not use euphemisms such as “recasts,” “fixes,” “clarifies” or “changes” when correcting a factual error.

    I don’t care if you think this is OK because it’s a recent story. It isn’t. End of the line.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  93. DRJ was kind enough to post their own stated standards, which they glaring did not follow. There was nothing “live” about the reporting, no context unavailable during the original version. AP wrote a hack shill attack piece, got called on it, and rather than admit error and correct it, the tried to slide it down the memory hole.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  94. More importantly, you’re an idiot to trust anything you read from AP, or to pay a penny for any of their work. If I knew TomT’s news organization, I would say the same for it.

    These people do not mind being wrong if they can pretend that’s part of some vague BS about context. They can’t live up to simple basic telling me the facts without screwing it up, and when they screw it up, identifying the screw up in a prominent fashion.

    They are unreliable for their intended purpose.

    Nothing about this O’Donnell coverage should have been difficult at all. They simply had to quote her accurately, perhaps throw in the first amendment’s full text, and quote Coons’s comments and a citation of the Danbury letter and the 1889 Court case.

    Instead, we get this BS, and we get excuses, and AP’s customers are misinformed. Our nation has moved on from AP, and for very good reason. They are far less reliable than other partisan outlets.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  95. Two years ago this week, the Tribune Co. gave the AP a 2-year notice of intent that it would drop the AP’s services. Gannett, the “nation’s biggest newspaper publisher,” was considering a similar move in January 2009.

    In fact, as reported in this April 2010 article at E&P, so many newspapers considered dropping the AP to save money that “the AP lowered its fees for U.S. newspapers by $30 million last year” and “plans a $45 million reduction for newspapers and broadcasters this year.” As a result, it is not surprising to read the opening paragraph in the E&P article:

    The Associated Press said Thursday its net income plunged as revenue fell nearly 10 percent last year. The news cooperative also expects a decline in revenue this year, which would be its first back-to-back drop since the Great Depression.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  96. If TomT is correct, and I seem to recall something like that when I had access to the AP wire, then the fault lies squarely with the Post for not updating and correcting their posts as the wire feed became more explicit in its coverage; and the Post spokes-hole was trying to blow smoke up every-one’s backside by saying that the copy was written by the AP and the Post had no input.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  97. It would be helpful if the AP would recast, fix, clarify or even change its policy to make this more clear.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  98. AD, no doubt you have a point. The Wapo should already know the AP’s record on accuracy by now. If they got this “blah blah” report from AP, that is, in and of itself, a great story they need to cover. At least they need to prominently correct.

    But I differ from you in that fault lies with Wapo alone (if this is what you meant, which you probably don’t mean at all, to be fair).

    AP didn’t get this story wrong because of any difficulty. It was a hatchet job to speak a democrat talking point. It was bad faith. I can say this with fair confidence because this isn’t an isolated incident.

    All they had to do was quote her accurately, instead of butchering the story and setting off a swarm of errors from dupes who spread the ‘error’. 23,000 people read a myth that was harder to get wrong than to get right. If AP just put their democrat shilling aside for a moment and cover the facts strictly, we’d have no problem.

    I place the blame on AP and anyone still relying on them for information.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  99. Tom

    What’s live and in motion about the story?

    The debate was over around 9:30 am. The version i screencapped was posted at almost at 1 pm. The event was over. The only thing that changed was the likely blistering criticism over the unfairness of the story.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  100. No, Dustin, I’m with you on this. The AP absolutely butchered the original story,
    and now they’re desperate to regain some semblance of journalistic respectability (Hah!) because too many other sources have come forward with a conflicting narrative.
    My point was that the WaPo was being very disingenuous in trying to say this was all on the AP, “our hands are clean” (Yeah, Right!).

    Would the last ethical journalist please turn out the lights (I know, why does Brother Bradley have to do all the work?).

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  101. It would be helpful if the AP would recast, fix, clarify or even change its policy to make this more clear.

    Comment by DRJ

    True. This exception for ‘live’ stories seems utterly pointless. Every blogger with 50 cents knows that if he makes a factual correction he should be upfront that he did so.

    Oh, but we’re supposed to be amazed at the nuts and bolts of ‘wire’ stories. Well, I’m not. That’s an antique, and there’s no reason the AP can’t have a hard rule that any factual correction includes a ‘we made a factual correction’. AP has essentially become part of the story, for better or worse, and should interview their own screw ups to see what the hell the problem is. The editors who passed a quote that wasn’t correct should explain why that wasn’t checked.

    Or they can just rewrite the whole thing and pretend tens of thousands of people weren’t misled.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  102. My point was that the WaPo was being very disingenuous in trying to say this was all on the AP, “our hands are clean” (Yeah, Right!).

    You’re right.

    Everybody seems more interested in avoiding accountability than in ensuring their readers get the truth. Preserving their ability to do this again is paramount.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  103. Oh, i didn’t see malcolm’s exchange with the ombudsman.

    Yeah, i actually emailed them too, and got a similar back and forth. my approach was to say, “um, no, it was not a live event. the event was over.” that’s a paraphrase, of course.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  104. Its also wrong to say that this is the AP’s fault and not ours, because here is the thing… Let’s say the AP put out a malicious (legally speaking) lie and the WAPO put it on its site. Well, then the WAPO is responsible, legally for it. They can be sued just as much as the AP. So in terms of the law they believe that the WAPO can’t wash its hands of its responsibilities.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  105. It’s called an update, guys. Certainly you’re not entirely unfamiliar with how the AP works, are you?

    They produce content for immediate publication online and often rewrite the story for next-day publication.

    Pauline (d8422a)

  106. No, Pauline. It was not an “update”. How many more euphemisms are people going to come up with to apologize for the AP’s original hatchet job hack piece.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  107. I think she’s saying the first one doesn’t count, JD.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  108. Maybe every AP story is a draft, a work in progress, and no correction is ever needed, just re-write it to say something the original didn’t say. Quietly memory hole the dishonest quote and PRESTO, it never happened.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  109. O’Donnell’s a dumbass who doesn’t understand the 1st amendment; what more need be said?

    meh (1c3352)

  110. Maybe every AP story is a draft, a work in progress, and no correction is ever needed, just re-write it to say something the original didn’t say.

    Well sure. It’s very convenient when you consider it: If a story is always evolving and in a state of flux, there is never really a final story and there’s always a built-in ‘out’ if that becomes necessary. Just re-write it.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  111. It was an update. You’re wrong, sorry. Learn how it works.

    Pauline (d8422a)

  112. Meh makes O’Donnell seem brilliant.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  113. We need more Christians to balance Muslin Obama!1

    Steve (d8422a)

  114. “This way of covering up a huge error seems dishonest.”

    “That’s because you’re too stupid to understand how the AP operates.”

    Alan Grayson is more reliable than the AP.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  115. Pauline knows things that, like TomT, can only be understood by your intellectual superiors in the hallowed halls of objective professional journalism.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  116. pauline

    So its an update… that changes 76% of the text and corrects mistakes in analysis and in a quotation from O’Donnell.

    But its not a correction. Lord no.

    Seriously, do you smell what you are shoveling, here?

    Seriously, why not just note the fact it had been corrected? and i mean in the part where we could see it.

    And an update for what purpose? Did they gain new information? once again, THE DEBATE WAS OVER BEFORE THE FIRST VERSION WAS WRITTEN. i mean the normal way the term “update” is used is to indicate a subsequent event. so what is the subsequent event?

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  117. JD

    > Pauline knows things that, like TomT, can only be understood by your intellectual superiors in the hallowed halls of objective professional journalism.

    You mean like how those law students knew things about the first amendment that Christine O’Donnell didn’t?

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  118. Pauline:

    The AP’s Statement of News Values and Principles doesn’t even contain the word “Update.” Are you sure we’re the ones who need to “Learn how it works”?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  119. It was an update. You’re wrong, sorry. Learn how it works.

    Comment by Pauline —

    What in the hell?

    Read the AP’s policies. This wasn’t a live story, after all. Only a liar would pretend it is, hours after the debate is over.

    They got the story wrong, they violated their own policy in several ways just to get to that point. It was harder to get it wrong than to simply quote O’Donnell accurately. They violated their policy yet again by not noting their correction prominently. Whether that’s ‘how it works’ (it isn’t) or not, that’s unethical. Any blogger or journalist knows better than to make major factual corrections, or correct a quote (substantially removing a hugely embarrassing implication that was false) without noting this correction was needed.

    Your ‘learn how it works’ ignores that 23,000 people read something that isn’t true. Stealth corrections prevent most of those people from realizing their understanding of the event is wrong, and it also preserves AP’s ability to deceive again and again.

    This arrogant ‘learn how it works’ is obviously trolling. Only problem for you nuts is that it’s 2010, and every day, the AP loses more influence to superior news organizations.

    DRJ noted AP’s financial woes. Perhaps they need to ‘learn how it works’. Let me explain: if people pay for your information, and your information sucks, and you are more interested in covering your ass than repairing the damage (that means ensuring those 23,000 readers of the error get the truth), you and your partners go out of business.

    I am sure the AP and its partners are willing to go down this path because of devotion to democrat politics and a hope for a bailout. Good luck with that.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  120. 104.O’Donnell’s a dumbass who doesn’t understand the 1st amendment; what more need be said?
    Comment by meh

    — Well, you could say something substantive about the subject.

    Couldn’t you?

    Hello???

    Icy Texan (3578a8)

  121. Pauline,

    Perhaps if you defined “update” and “correction” as it relates to the AP, it would be helpful. I’ll consider this a teachable moment.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  122. ___________________________________________

    The news cooperative also expects a decline in revenue this year, which would be its first back-to-back drop since the Great Depression.

    What a shame — what irony! — that a business dominated by people of the left, managing its affairs during a time when America jumped the shark (aka the era of Obama and liberal lunacy, triggered back in November 2008), should be struggling.

    Mark (411533)

  123. AW – ironically, they are advancing an idea that is ridiculous, and claiming that it is stupid to not share their twisted dishonest view. as you have seen here and elsewhere, this was just another excuse for ignoramus leftists to claim a faux and perceived only by them intellectual superiority. That they mock someone who was technically correct for being stupid, and using the fact that she was right as proof of her stupidity seems odd. they revel in their dishonesty’ apparently. but, we are not journalists, so we are not capable of understanding.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  124. Aaron, you’re wrong simply because, well, you’re wrong. You chose to cherry pick this story, despite the fact that nearly every story that goes online first and then in the paper is different. That’s fine if you don’t believe me, but maybe you should actually know what you’re talking about. So 76 percent of the words changed, lol, that’s what happens when you’re producing copy twice.

    Instead of crying about a liberal conspiracy in the AP of all places (which is hilarious in itself) just look at any other story that goes through the same treatment.

    Pauline (d8422a)

  125. JD, this is why we need Pauline to enlighten us. :)

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  126. Pauline,

    As Dana says, feel free to enlighten us but we need something more than “you’re wrong because you’re wrong.”

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  127. Pauline drools while standing up.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  128. Aaron (and others): Here is an example of a fact the AP got wrong, and the correction made in stealth. Please observe how this is not compliant with obvious journalism principles. Look here at AP’s own policies they are violating. We should have corrections made prominently instead of hidden.

    Pauline: you’re wrong simply because, well, you’re wrong. What liberal media?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  129. 83.I absolutely cannot wait for there to be no separation between church and state. I cannot wait for the government to be able to tell the church what they can and cannot preach. Oh…wait…you far-right wing radical extremists thought it only went one way. Hmmm. I don’t think you thought your cunning plan through all of the way.
    Comment by CLee

    — Drive-by idiot.

    Icy Texan (3578a8)

  130. Aaron, you’re wrong simply because, well, you’re wrong.

    Pauline, you realize this can be reversed: Pauline, you’re wrong simply because, well, you’re wrong. Does that necessarily make you wrong? Of course not. See?

    So 76 percent of the words changed, lol, that’s what happens when you’re producing copy twice.

    So if 80% of the words changed, would that be a correction? What about 77%?

    Either define your terms – correction & update, with substance, or guess what? You’re wrong, well, because you’re wrong.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  131. I can’t enlighten you any more than I already have. If you want to be willfully ignorant there’s nothing I can do about that. Like I said, look at any other major news story. It gets the same treatment.

    But you won’t, you’d rather think that the AP has a liberal bias (lol) and that there’s a conspiracy at all levels to suppress truth. Because that seems more plausible, right?

    Pauline (d8422a)


  132. I can’t enlighten you any more than I already have.

    You responded to arguments, rooted carefully in fact, with nothing but insistence that these arguments are wrong.

    Of course the AP has a democrat bias. Here’s but one of many examples

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  133. Pauline – I’m late to the party, but you’re wrong. You’re probably a xenophobic, homophobic, racist as well, but that’s another matter.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  134. For someone who is claiming that this is no big deal, Pauline sure is making a big deal out of it.

    Hmmm . . .

    Icy Texan (3578a8)

  135. Pauline

    Okay, since you are such a genius in all things journalistic, explain this to me.

    What is the difference between an update and a correction?

    Because it looks like to me that the original was INCORRECT. and now it is more correct. So it seems like a… correction.

    But i love your argument so far. “Hi, I am a random anonymous person you don’t know on the internet. I am telling you that you are wrong. No proof. No credentials, even. Just trust me.”

    To paraphrase Kevin Butler, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. That’s how World War I got started.

    (no, that is not a typo. its a joke.)

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  136. Pauline knows things, people. Because she does. And you are wrong. Why? Because you are wrong, and if your were not wrong, Pauline would not have to demonstrate how wrong wrong wrong you are. Quit bothering with JournoListing, you idiotic hilljack racists could not possibly understand.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  137. Btw, Pauline, i don’t consider this an AP plot to suppress the truth.

    I think the AP’s original version of the story was ignorant to the point that when they realized their mistake, they were too embarrassed to own up to it. Christine O’Donnell managed to go over their heads, when they were so ready to call her dumb.

    Aaron Worthing (f97997)

  138. Aaron, at #116 an #125, I asked Pauline to define the terms. Since she has not, I can only conclude that she is wrong, because she just is.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  139. Every comment makes me laugh. Comedy Gold.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  140. Is this another “I work here is done” moment?

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  141. Just watch the video. He says we have a principle of “Separation of church and state” and she asks “where in the constitution is separation of church and state.”
    Comment by imdw

    — You crawled out from under your rock just to say this to me? Geez!

    He speaks of the “principle” AFTER mentioning the 1st Amendment. It is in that context that she asks him, making the point of the difference between the plain text of the amendment and the interpretation of it by lib jurists, where the “principle” is located within the amendment.

    Icy Texan (3578a8)

  142. @ Pauline,

    If you want to be willfully ignorant there’s nothing I can do about that.

    But we aren’t trying to be willfully ignorant – that why we’ve asked you repeatedly to define your terms: Update and Correction.

    Why are you willfully keeping us in thi place of ignorance instead of helping us to understand?

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  143. Has Pauline found that pony yet?
    Perhaps meh can help her?

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  144. I would love for Pauline to actually explain her position. Or maybe, STFU you pig ignert redneck bitter clinging xianist extremist racists is the extent of her ability to discuss.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  145. I fart in your general direction, Pauline.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  146. I have to go to bed now but I’m looking forward to checking back in the morning for Pauline’s definition of terms so that I can be enlightened.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  147. i don’t consider this an AP plot to suppress the truth.

    Well, I think they want to shill for democrats.

    I think they want to prevent folks from learning their initial claims about O’Donnell were wrong.

    At this point, they’ve faced the consequences of a heavily democrat base of writers and editors and should be proactive when covering controversies surrounding one of their ideological opponents. It’s not so much a conspiracy (that’s Pauline’s strawman for it) as simply letting a dishonest system continue because they don’t mind this.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  148. This is really just an example of classic leftist arrogance and mendoucheity. Pauline and TomT were just performing for us.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  149. Oh, no, JD, TomT is the hugest O’Donnell supporter ever and a big Tea Partier. He’s simply concerned.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  150. Probably a concerned Christian conservative who never voted for a Dem until Bush came along with his warforbloodandoil and his runaway spending.

    But, he hates O’Donnell, so he should be cool with you 😉

    JD (eb1dfe)

  151. G’night, racists. Denounced and condemned, just in case.

    JD (eb1dfe)

  152. I always sleep better after JD tucks my racist butt into bed.

    Icy Texan (3578a8)

  153. But, he hates O’Donnell, so he should be cool with you 😉

    The head that eats the crayons hangs low, it’s true

    I’m not anything you’ve heard. I’m you.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  154. Well, I’m glad you cleared that up.
    You had us worried there for a minute.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  155. Get help, Yelverton.

    Hairy Reed (eb1dfe)

  156. Raw Story, that was an other Kimberlin project wasn’t it, although the pure undiluted crazy of
    Larissa is amusing on occasion,

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  157. I stand by my opinion that O’Donnell’s performance was hideous, she doesn’t deserve the defense she’s getting. Don’t throw your coffee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

    SarahW (af7312)


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