Don't Erase Incorrect News Reports
from the that-just-causes-problems dept
If you’ve been paying attention to the political blogosphere or any news about the recent horrific attacks in Mumbai, you may have heard the story that made the rounds about a couple supposedly blaming CNN for potentially giving away their location to the terrorists. It was a hit among CNN-haters, and it got picked up by a variety of mainstream sources, including the NY Times. The only problem? The story is totally bogus. It originated in the publication Wales Online, but after CNN reviewed their footage and couldn’t find anything to match the story, it asked the site for an explanation… at which point Wales Online admitted that the story was “not valid,” blaming the Press Association from which it got the story.
However, as E-Media Tidbits points out, rather than post an update explaining the error, Wales Online took a different approach: it just made the article disappear. If you go to the original link for the story, you just get a blank page. This isn’t helping the process of correcting errors. Well after the story was discovered to be a fake, plenty of sources were still repeating it.
Sure, it’s embarrassing to make a mistake — especially one that ends up getting so much attention. But simply “disappearing” the story and pretending it never happened is a dreadful solution. If anything, leave the original story up with a clear retraction placed at the top. Hell, maybe use the experience to explain how it happened and what the publication is doing to prevent similar things from happening in the future. The last thing you should do is just pretend the whole mess never happened in the first place. That just makes Wales Online look even less trustworthy.