Yesterday, CNN deleted information from its live blog on the search for former Los Angeles police officer Chris Dorner and said that it found out the interview had been with someone posing as the mayor of Big Bear Lake, Jay Obernolte, as iMediaEthics reported.
But, today, CNN tells iMediaEthics that the network was NOT tricked after all and that an "internal miscommunication" led to CNN's wrongly apologizing for a phony interview.
CNN's Matt Dornic told iMediaEthics by email today:
"We did not air a hoax interview. Our source and guest was indeed Jay Obernolte. The original correction was unnecessarily issued due to internal miscommunication. The website has since updated with a clarification:
"[Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET, Wednesday February 13] We are reinstating these two posts from 5:06 p.m. ET and 5:09 p.m. ET that were previously removed because of internal miscommunication. The information and quotes were always accurate and from the mayor. We regret the error."
iMediaEthics just left a voicemail for Obernolte asking for confirmation that he did interview yesterday with CNN and asking if he knew about the confusion with CNN's live blog. We'll update with any response. We wrote to Obernolte last night by email about this and haven't had any response yet.
For background, in yesterday's live blog, CNN deleted two posts referring to Obernolte's comments and posted an apology notice that read:
"[Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET] In posts at 5:06 p.m. ET and 5:09 p.m. ET, we reported apparent information from Big Bear Lake Mayor Jay Obernolte. We have learned that the man we spoke to was not the mayor, so we’ve removed the information. We regret the error."
Those two posts, which have now been re-published on CNN's site, read:
"[Updated at 5:09 p.m. ET] As a precaution, schools in the Big Bear Lake area are on lockdown, Big Bear Lake Mayor Jay Obernolte says.
"[Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET] Authorities believe Dorner is 'pinned down' in a rural area about 8 miles south of Big Bear Lake, California, the city's mayor told CNN.
"Mayor Jay Obernolte says his thoughts and prayers are with the two deputies who police say were wounded in a shootout Tuesday with Dorner.
"'If they were injured in the defense of our community, we owe them a huge debt of gratitude,' Obernolte said."
UPDATE: 2/14/2013 1:19 PM EST: Check out iMediaEthics' follow-up report including an interview with Obernolte.