The Washington Post

NBC responds to criticism on Obama-redistribution ‘authentication’ issue

NBC and MSNBC are sustaining heavy fire for sending mixed signals regarding the authentication of a video of Barack Obama from 1998 — when he was an Illinois state senator — talking about the merits of wealth distribution. In the clip above, Andrea Mitchell notes on MSNBC that both outlets hadn’t yet completed that important task and thus were not showing the video to their viewers — yet, at the same time, MSNBC apparently did air the thing earlier in the day.

An NBC spokesperson just issued this statement on the matter:

In any instance like this — regardless of the source or topic — NBC News Standards will issue guidance instructing broadcasts to not air content unless or until we can determine that it is authentic, unedited, and not taken out of context.

A source at the network insists that this same scrubbing applied to the Mitt Romney video that exploded onto the Internet on Monday.

Okay — by all means, authenticate! Be careful, especially in light of the Zimmerman video-editing fiasco. But straighten out your message regarding authentication!

We’re waiting on word from NBC regarding just how hard the network worked to nail down the authentication of the Obama-redistribution video, among other things.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: An NBC source indicates that it wasn’t until after Mitchell’s midday declaration that NBC News Standards “authenticated and approved” the video for on-air use. Implication: The earlier broadcast on MSNBC, featuring Chuck Todd on the Daily Rundown, appears to have run afoul of NBC News Standards in pushing the video out to its viewers. The NBC source says, “We have a strict and extensive review process in place so that broadcasts don’t rush material to air without thorough vetting.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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