So there’s a duel going on at The Post’s website — between a more recent story that features correct information and a more dated one that oversells the hacking threat. The result is a clicky version of Russian roulette: If you choose the wrong version, you get the wrong news.
A number of critics have blasted The Post for its handling of the story, and this blog will forego a laborious reconstruction of the affair.
What stands out about the incident, however, is that the newspaper published its salacious story based on the accounts of the “officials,” though without input from the utility folks. Burlington Electric executive Neale Lunderville told Vermont Public Radio, “It could have easily been corrected, well first, had this federal official not leaked this information inaccurately, and second had the news outlet got in touch with us to confirm it or deny it, and we would have told them, ‘Not so. That’s not the case.’ And they could have printed a correct story the first time around.”
The Erik Wemple Blog today asked top Post officials for interviews on the screw-ups, though we didn’t get any sit-downs. Kris Coratti, a spokeswoman for the paper, issued this statement: “We have corrected the story, prominently displayed the correct information after further reporting, evaluated what transpired, and had the appropriate discussions internally to make sure something similar does not occur again.”
“Again” would be the third time, considering that The Post was forced to publish an editor’s note over a Thanksgiving-weekend story fingering Russia for assisting in the spread of fake news.
The missteps mar an otherwise spectacular run for The Post, which nailed exclusive after exclusive in the presidential campaign. With traffic surging and editorial ranks growing, The Post, you might suppose, would have the self-confidence to sit for an extensive interview about its occasional failings. Apparently not.