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CNN admits errors in “Tea Party Dems” story

Posted by Allan on April 6, 2010

Like most of us, I found that recent CNN story about Democrats “joining” the Tea Party to be risible. It talks to a total of three people, two of whom claim to have voted for Obama in 2008, and implies that they are representative of some kind of movement.

Noting that one of them, “Ann Ducket” was described as an attorney and a former candidate for office (as a Democrat!), I figured that there would be more information available about her via the Googles.

And there was.

I wrote CNN via their “report errors” feature with what I learned, and today they admitted, in writing, that their story contained errors.

Woot! Victory!

Umm, not so much.

For starters, CNN misspelled her name. It’s Duckett.

Second, Ann did indeed run for elective office in Colorado. She ran for the Mesa County DA in 2004. As an INDEPENDENT.

Ann lost that election to the Republican incumbent. Subequently, her husband, Stephen Fish, filed a suit against individuals associated with her rival’s campaign over a technical violation of law.

I e-mailed CNN with my findings.

Your story quotes “life-long” Democrat Ann Ducket. A simple Google search confirms that her name is spelled Duckett, and also that she ran for office in Mesa County, CA for district attorney – as an INDEPENDENT – in 2004.

When you pass on the claims of self-professed “lifelong party x member” as if that gives the person extra credibility, then fail to do any research to confirm whether the person in question is blowing smoke up your ass, then you fail as a news source.

This morning, I received the following e-mail from CNN.

Thank you from CNN!

As you know, CNN.com provides our readers with the resources to bring to our attention possible errors on our site. (Even the very talented CNN.com writers are only human, and yes they do occasionally make mistakes!) You recently took advantage of these resources and brought to our attention an error in one of our stories. Thanks to your eagle eye and your willingness to take the time to report it to us, it’s been corrected. This email is to acknowledge your contribution to CNN.com.

We are proud to be able to offer our millions of readers the opportunity to contribute to our reports in a variety of ways, and especially proud of readers like you, who partner with us in our efforts to be the very best. From all of us at CNN.com, THANK YOU! We look forward to hearing from you again soon.

OK, I thought. That’s refreshing. I can’t wait to see what changes have been made.

So I clicked through to the article in question again. Ducket, still misspelled, check. Claim that she ran for office as a Democrat, check.

To be sure, I ran the current version of the article against the Google cache version from April 3. No changes.

All of us know that web content, especially on news sites, is forever. CNN has officially acknowledged in writing that this written record contains errors, even patted a reader on the head and called him a good boy for catching them, but has so far failed to correct its content.

Did I mention that the original article was written by Shannon Travis, a CNN producer on the John King USA show? The program that brings us the commentary of Erick Erickson?

CNN is anticipating Democratic losses in Congress this November, as are all of us.

But CNN is setting the stage to spin it as the resurgence of Republicans, the victory of the Tea Party, and the end of Barack Obama. John King, Erick Erickson and Shannon Travis are there to feed that meme.

CNN: Stenographing the lies of right-wingers.

Cross-posted at the Daily Kos.

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3 Responses to “CNN admits errors in “Tea Party Dems” story”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by allanbrauer. allanbrauer said: New blog post! CNN admits to me their "Tea Party Dems" story contains errors, but doesn't correct their mistake. http://wp.me/pKWwD-20 […]

  2. merl said

    I think they just sent you a form letter. I doubt they ever saw the letter you wrote to them

    • kittylittr said

      Yes, it was a form letter. When you submit an error report to CNN, you get an initial email right away acknowledging receipt of your concern. This one came several days later, so even though it’s a form letter, it suggests some human review of my complaint and a recognition that my feedback was valid.

      Anyway, CNN accomplished its goal with the article, so correcting it long after everyone read and commented about it doesn’t undo the damage.

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