Washington Post: “The Mistake Was Not Ours” (And Other Excuses from the Press)

Here’s a story from Editor and Publisher in which some editors apologize for false coverage of the miner story, while others defend their inaccurate reporting.

Notice in these snippets (the E&P article has more) that the “prestige newspapers” seem less likely to apologize than the smaller papers:

“The mistake was not ours.” – Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie, Jr.

“The paper is responsible for everything in the paper and if there is an inaccuracy, in this case a huge one, you have to take responsibility.” – Philadelphia Daily News Editor Mike Days

“It seemed we handled it just fine all along the way.” – Boston Globe Editor Martin Baron

“…we are sorry for any excessive pain our print editions might add.” – Shreveport Times Executive Editor Alan English

“I don’t feel [sic]that we need to apologize, but we should explain.” – Miami Herald Executive Editor Tom Fiedler

“If you saw today’s printed edition of The Eagle, you saw a front page headline and story that are flat wrong. …I’ll explain why we (and newspapers across the country) went to press last night with the information we had at the time. But it won’t excuse the blunt truth that we violated a basic tenet of journalism today in our printed edition: Report what you know and how you know it.” – Wichita Eagle Editor Sherry Chisenhall

Remember, folks: “the miners are alive/the miners are dead” question is as clear-cut as a story can be. It is not viewed differently by people of different political persuasions. Its facts are not subject to interpretation. The miners were either alive or they were dead, and the mainstream press — the very people who think they deserve a federal shield law — couldn’t get it right.

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