The Huffington Post and Mediaite both were hoaxed by a spoof Twitter account purporting to belong to North Carolina governor Bev Perdue.
Perdue had said to NBC TV news WITN about the state's Amendment One on gay marriage, that "People are saying what in the world is going on with North Carolina, we look like Mississippi."
But, the two outlets claimed that Perdue tweeted May 14 that she
"Called the Mississippi governor today and apologized for my remarks. Offered to send him some Bojangles Bo-Berry biscuits to make amends."
The Twitter account, @GovBevPerdue, is a phony. The tagline for the account reads: "73rd Governor of North Carolina. 1st Female Governor of North Carolina, and now probably the last. *Parody Account*"
Poynter's Craig Silverman noted that previous tweets by the spoofer suggested the account wasn't legitimate, citing a May 12 post "OH LAWD, WE'RE SCREWED Y'ALL!"
The Huffington Post corrected its story at the top of the original post. The correction reads:
"CORRECTION: This story embarrassingly took Bev Perdue's spoof Twitter account at face value -- here is her real one -- to produce the following:"
Mediaite added an "UPDATE" to its story in which it apologized above the original report, which hat-tipped the Huffington Post. (We've written to Mediaite asking why it's not labeled a correction or retraction and will update with any response.)
That "update" reads:
"UPDATE: Mediate editor Noah Rothman, as well as Huffington Post, was completely had today by a fake twitter account which was purported to be that of North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.
"We sincerely apologize for the inaccurate report. We would have preferred to rely on Twitter’s verification system, but even that has become a less-than-reputable measure of an individual’s existance, given that Twitter has been verifying fake accounts (like Dallas’ J.R. Ewing) and Gov. Perdue’s real account remains unverified.
"What follows is the original and unedited piece that ran on Mediaite in which it was reported that Perdue had apologized for remarks she made about Mississippi voters."
The fake @GovBevPerdue Twitter account also claimed that CNN was hoaxed by it, writing "Don't feel bad @HuffingtonPost! CNN apparently doesn't fact check their news source either," re-tweeting a post from @CNNPoliticsDesk.
We wrote to CNN asking if it did re-tweet from the fake Perdue account. Matt Dornic from CNN Worldwide told iMediaEthics by e-mail that @CNNPoliticsDesk did tweet the hoax apology, and sent out a corrective tweet reading:
"The real Gov. Perdue did not issue an apology yesterday -- that info was reported from a hoax account. Apologies for any confusion."
Alan Colmes, who identifies himself on Twitter as a radio host and "Fox News contributor," also fell for the hoax, posting both a tweet and a short post on his website about the (phony) apology to Mississippi.
The News Observer, a daily newspaper in Raleigh, reported that "A spokesman for the real Perdue (@ncgovoffice on Twitter) said Perdue did speak with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant Monday but she didn't apologize. The spokesman didn't elaborate but said 'they had a very good discussion.'"
Hat Tip: POLITICO
UPDATE: 5/15/2012 2:41 PM EST: Added info about CNN account