That someone might consider reading this piece by Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni. It’s a pat down of how the Capitol Hill publication came to misportray remarks made by Tea Party Rep. Raúl Labrador of Idaho regarding House Speaker John Boehner. The original story based on an interview by Roll Call’s Matt Fuller indicated that Labrador “doesn’t see Boehner as speaker in the 114th [Congress].”
Following a complaint by Labrador and an internal review of the story, Roll Call changed things to read as follows:
Speaker John A. Boehner should lose his gavel if he pursues immigration this year, a prominent tea party Republican said in an interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday.
“I think it should cost him his speakership,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho warned, if Boehner puts an immigration overhaul on the floor.
So Labrador was rendering a normative judgment, not a prediction. In her note on the mixed signals, Bellantoni, who recently took over Roll Call’s helm after a stint at PBS NewsHour, regretted it all: “It sucks. I hate it, especially just two weeks into the job.”
Lamentable, perhaps. Yet not nearly as lamentable as, say, tweaking misleading headlines about a pivotal CBO report on the fly — as many media organizations did yesterday — or changing a factual matter without leaving any fingerprints — as the New York Times did last week. By coming clean with its explanation, Roll Call provides grist for college journalism professors — who are always obsessed with how mistakes happened — and turns a screwup into a credibility-building exercise. Plus, in this age of volunteer journo-watchdogs, it’s not as if it would have gotten away with it in any case.