When I asked Dylan Byers yesterday afternoon whether Politico was planning any further language to correct his post on Barack Obama and his “New York girlfriend,” this response came back: “There are no further changes planned for the story. It will stand as it exists. . .”
Whether it was pressure from bloggers or tweeps or just plain good sense in the Politico operation, that plan changed for the better over the past day. The post, which had portrayed Obama as having duped readers of his memoir, now carries this wonderful and extensive field of italics:
Editors’ Note: The original version of this post inaccurately stated that Barack Obama had not revealed creating composite characters in his book, “Dreams from My Father.” An update to the post was added that Obama had acknowledged using composite characters in a reissue of the book. When POLITICO later learned that Obama had acknowledged in all editions of his book using composites, the incorrect information was removed from the post and a correction was added stating that Obama had, in fact, disclosed using composites in the first edition of his book. The correction should have included that the inaccurate information was removed from the post. In addition, while POLITICO’s general policy is to post corrections at the end of content, in this case, the error was significant enough that it should have been posted at the top.
Now no one reading the post will come away with false notions about Obama’s memoir-writing policies.
Everyone makes mistakes. So it’s best to judge news outlets not on the gravity of their screwups, but rather on their willingness to acknowledge them. His archive appropriately cleansed, Byers can now simply carry on.