Politico writer knocks on WaPoa Steel’s cleansing of document errors: “Is this how journalism dies … into darkness?”

Politico columnist Jack Schafer, like the Washington Post, aimed to correct previous reports of the infamous Steele document.

The Post shocked the media landscape last week as it made major corrections following revelations in an ongoing Durham investigation that undermined the magazine’s earlier confirmation of allegations in a memo by former British spy Christopher Steele that helped ignite a Russia-secret narrative during Trump’s presidency. .

Washington Post fixes

The Washington Post on Friday took the unusual step of correcting and deleting much of the two articles published in March 2017 and February 2019 that identified the Belarusian American businessman as the main source of the “Steele document.” Unconfirmed reports claiming the Russian government had dangerous information from the then candidate Donald Trump, “Paul Farhi, the media editor of the Post wrote.

“The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Sally Buzbee, said The Post could no longer stand the accuracy of these parts of the story. It had identified businessman Sergei Millian as ‘source D’, an anonymous figure who passed on the most mysterious accusation.” .

(Via ERIC BARADAT / AFP Getty Images)

In a book entitled “Don’t Let Journalism Be Open to a Memory Hole,” Shafer defended the principle once advocated by newspapers that its articles are “the first rough draft in history,” even if the first draft is not entirely accurate.

“So when journalists find new information that undermines an earlier copy, they write new stories and update the record. area go back and delete the original, invalid version. But so is the Washington Post did last week, “Shafer wrote on Tuesday.

Shafer greeted the Post for making corrections and praised its media critic Erik Wemple for his ongoing newsletter, in which he called news agencies that jumped on a Steele document but accused Buzbeta of “disguising an editorial record” and wrote: ” “


A spokesman for the post told Shafer that the original reports can be found on the media database service Factiva, but a Politico columnist pointed out that it costs about $ 249 a month, which many readers cannot afford.

Shafer wrote, “Such a heavy reprocessing of a year-old copy is so rare that it approaches unprecedented,” said W. Joseph Campbell, a professor of media history at American University Farh. Stephen Bates, a professor of journalism at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, agrees. if the record is constantly changing, “Bates says.

The Washington Post corrected its coverage of Christopher Steele’s infamous document following the indictment of Igor Danchenko.

The Washington Post corrected its coverage of Christopher Steele’s infamous document following the indictment of Igor Danchenko.
(Reuters / Getty Images)

Politico’s senior media writer stressed that his “main thing” is not that the Post “cheated” the story, which often happens to news agencies, but rather “how the magazine should deal with the confusion in the light of new information”. He acknowledged that “such corrections require moderate rewriting,” referring to Politico’s 2019 Russiagate report, which was revised to reflect the Post’s recent correction.

“Accountability requires journalists to show how their work was flawed if they choose to correct or cancel,” Shafer wrote before mentioning other examples of erroneous reports from the Post and the New York Times. “Such transparency is better than Posti’s rewriting and deletion strategy just introduced. Readers should not have to buy expensive news databases to find out which newspapers were originally published. But all is not lost. Thanks to the Internet archive, an entrepreneur can retrieve Mail Winning Pages. “


“In the days before the web, the best way to keep an eye on a newspaper’s honesty… was to cut stories or check microfilms. throws old, erroneous stories into the memory hole. Is that how journalism dies … into darkness? ” Shafer added.

A postal spokesman told Fox News: “We were transparent to our readers in the editor’s notes, which we added to the stories to make sure they understood what was being removed and why.”

Brian Flood of Fox News contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment