Friday, May 28, 2010

For a few seconds, I was thrilled!

(Updated below)

But, as a card-carrying pessimist, I knew that it was too good to be true. And it is: turns out it's a different Kenneth Starr.

Someday, though, other Kenneth. Someday.

Meanwhile, over at IndyPosted ("Quick News For Busy People"), one Dan Evon evidently thought, "Really, how many people COULD there be named Kenneth Starr, who could also get Uma Thurman to give them a million bucks, amirite?" Which led to the following bit of FAIL appearing on my Google News Search for Kenneth Starr, a few minutes ago. Click it to big it.

Bad moment for Dan Evon

Worst part about it? The link from Google (repeated here) does lead to the URL expected (, but all we see is this:

IndyPosted's 404

Jesus, Dan and/or your editor: we all make mistakes. But don't try to scrub them. Just update the post with a correction. Deleting the whole thing causes far more credibility loss.

Ordinarily, I'd not bother saying anything. But an organization (supposedly) good enough to get listed on Google News Search deserves to be called out.

(This has since been addressed. See update at the bottom of this post.)

Meanwhile, hat tip to Adrian Chen at Gawker, who got it right ("… U.S. Attorney's case against (not Bill Clinton prosecutor) Kenneth Starr …"). Ditto Nathaniel Popper at the Los Angeles Times ("Starr is not related to the former independent prosecutor of the same name.").

As an aside: Popper also has a picture of this Kenneth; while Chen has a picture of Uma (though sadly, not in a tennis dress). I'll let you assign the bonus points as you see fit.


Review question: The moral of this blog post is?

  1. Snarky libtard bloggers and the biased liberal media will lead to the death of Real America, because they never get anything right.

  2. Getting it first is far more important than getting it right.

  3. If you make a mistake, don't acknowledge it. The cover-up is never as bad as the crime.

  4. The dinosaur lamestream media is dead. Long live citizen journamalism!

  5. All of the above.


2010-05-28 13:14

I am happy to report that James Johnson from IndyPosted noticed my original post and has responded in the comments. More importantly, the link that used to return a "page not found" message now redirects to a post noting their correction. Good for IndyPosted.


Anonymous said...

BJKeefe, removed the story at the request of the Starr team. However we did not intend to send to a 404 page, we redirected to a retraction. We find that taking the steps other agencies take (crossing out a sentence about Starr and leaving the rest in tack) is a cop-out. We wrote a piece with the word retraction in it and posted that piece (which can be seen at the link you have posted thanks to a redirection). We just didn't redirect the original piece to the story retraction yesterday (my fault I take full responsibility). It has now been redirected.

BTW, if you crawl through our pages you'll see 3 or 4 other retractions we have written in the past that are also redirects. Thanks for your concern as we do appreciate media watchdogs.

James Johnson

Anonymous said...

One more thing, it should be noted, that as an aggregation news site, we ban sites from being used the first time we learn they completely reported the wrong information, that's why we no longer allow FoxNews to be used as a source due to various errors and intentional omissions.

Brendan said...

Thanks for noticing. I have updated my post to reflect your comments and actions.

I'm not sure why you view doing a strikethrough as a "cop-out," but I do take what I think is your larger point, that it is not the best way to fix an error. To my mind, what you now have at the link is perfectly satisfactory; in general, I think a better way to handle an error in an otherwise still-valid news post is to make the correction in place, add an asterisk at that point, and explain the correction in a footnote. Or, if it doesn't break the flow too much, just explain the correction in square brackets, right inline.

My feeling is that there is something valuable to preserving the proverbial first draft of history, along with the inevitably-required blue penciling, especially given how everything is indexed, cached, quickly linked to, etc., these days. It can be helpful, for example, if someone makes a claim based on a given source to refer that person back to his or her own source to see the correction in place.

However, if your original post fell apart once this correction was made, what you have now is, as I said, quite acceptable, to my taste.

Anyway, thanks again for noticing and addressing this matter.

P.S. LOL @ the Fox "News" ban.


P.P.S. Intact, not in tack, for the record.

(Sorry -- my mother was an editor and my grandmother was a copyreader.)

Anonymous said...

"intack" lol, I tend not to edit much when I leave comments.

To your point about "completely falling apart" that was the issue, the entire post was littered with references to Starr's past actions. It would have read something like "Ponzi Scheme....the end"

Lol, in all seriousness though, I agree with your point on keeping first drafts in place when they make sense as we have done in the past.

Good looking out :)


Brendan said...

Y'know, I have to say, I hesitated before making my smart-ass remark about "in tack." Because it almost seemed plausible, doesn't it? I mean, in the sense of a horse or other beast of burden in harness … the article being able to bear up after removal of an error …

Okay, you don't know me well enough to know how twisted my brain is, so if the above has you feeling mystified, that's to your credit, not your debit.