Media critic

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via Associated Press)

A headline on Fortune’s website last week read this way: “C-SPAN Confirms It Was Briefly Hacked by Russian News Site.”

That wasn’t true, and Fortune ran a correction. C-SPAN never confirmed any such thing. What it did confirm was that RT, the Kremlin-funded propaganda channel, somehow managed to interrupt a network online feed for a brief period. And given recent headlines about the digital activities of various Russian actors, well, it was inevitable that a hacking headline would emerge from the melee.

In any case, C-SPAN moments ago issued a statement confirming its initial hunch that the misdirected online broadcast wasn’t the work of any nefarious actor. “C-SPAN has concluded its investigation and as we had anticipated last Thursday, the interruption of our C-SPAN.org livestream on January 12th was caused by an internal routing error. C-SPAN.org was not hacked. We have determined that during testing for inaugural coverage, RT’s signal was mistakenly routed onto the primary encoder feeding C-SPAN1’s signal to the internet, rather than to an unused backup.” “Mistakenly routed,” huh? Plenty of room there for conspiracists!