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ABC News made an error in their headline, April 07, 2009. Obama never said the words in quotation. ABC News quickly removed the quotation marks and apologized. The image above is a screen capture posted by The Plume Line, Greg Sargent's blog.

The Plum Line, Greg Sargent’s blog, reported that ABC News made a inaccurate factual claim in a headline by adding quotations that shouldn’t have been there. “I can’t find any evidence that Obama said “sorry about the Bush years,” Sargent first said.

ABC News later claims they made a typographical error when they put quotations marks in a headline. Sargent reported “This headline was mistakenly put in quotations; obviously the president never said that, it was meant to express the sentiment of his remarks. Apologies for any misunderstanding.”

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Sargent made some interesting points on the journalism ethics involved here. “My understanding is that it’s a no-no to put something that someone didn’t say between quotation marks, even if it’s a paraphrase.” This is especially important for the words of political leaders– that can be both wrong and misused.

StinkyJournalism did a related news story about the BBC’s undisclosed audio cut and pasting of Obama’s words –out-of-order–from his inaugural address. The BBC re-mix gave viewers the false impression that Obama presented a coherent green policy, when he had not..

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ABC News “Editing Error” Misquotes Obama

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  1. Alan Bisbort says:

    It is such a crock that ABC News would blame their misleading headline on a "typographical error." Let’s not forget that this is the same network that aired a "documentary" called "The Path to 9/11" during Bush’s second term that purported to be factual but was a passel of lies, which essentially blamed the attacks on Sept. 11 on Bill Clinton. ABC has a pattern of willful distortions. They should have their feet held to the fire over this.

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