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The S.S. Badger has not earned national landmark designation. (Credit: S.S. Badger)

A steamship car ferry, the S.S. Badger, is not a national landmark, at least not yet, but the Associated Press reported it as such. The ship’s application for that designation is currently under review, but it has not officially been approved.

The Associated Press retracted a story saying it earned the designation. The story claimed “The last coal-fired steamship operating on the Great Lakes has been assigned National Historic Landmark designation.”

The error started because of an incorrect social media post: the National Historic Landmarks Program thought the ship, the S.S. Badger, had earned the designation and posted on Facebook about it. This is yet again, another example of the perils of relying on social media as a source. The program posted an apology on Facebook.

Inaccurate information related to the SS Badger (Car Ferry) was mistakenly posted to our page yesterday, January 21,…

The Chicago Tribune published an editor’s note on its publication of the AP story. That editor’s note reads:

“The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about the SS Badger, the last coal-fired steamship operating on the Great Lakes, being assigned National Historic Landmark Designation. National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said the landmark program mistakenly published inaccurate information on an official social media page on Thursday. The ferry has not received the historic designation, but the application is under review.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer replaced the story with a note explaining the retraction that reads:

“LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about the SS Badger, the last coal-fired steamship operating on the Great Lakes, being assigned National Historic Landmark Designation. National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said the landmark program mistakenly published inaccurate information on an official social media page on Thursday. The ferry has not received the historic designation, but the application is under review. A replacement story will not be sent.”

MLive.com added an update to its story on the S.S. Badger, reading:

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Update: The National Park Service has since deleted the announcement it made online, calling it a mistake. The Badger’s application to become a National Historic Landmark isn’t complete, officials said on Friday, Jan. 22. Here are the details.

 

The original AP story is still published on ABC-affiliate WISN’s website.

The Detroit Free Press unpublished the story.

iMediaEthics has written to the Associated Press to ask if it had independent confirmation of the claim, or if the source was only the Facebook post. The AP’s Paul Colford provided iMediaEthics with the AP retraction text:

“LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about the SS Badger, the last coal-fired steamship operating on the Great Lakes, being assigned National Historic Landmark Designation. National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said the landmark program mistakenly published inaccurate information on an official social media page on Thursday. The ferry has not received the historic designation, but the application is under review. A replacement story will not be sent. The AP”

We’ve also reached out to the National Park Service. (The National Park Service is under the Secretary of the Interior, which designates National Historic Landmarks.)

UPDATE: 1/22/2016 7:24 PM EST With AP retraction text

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Associated Press Retracts: Steamship Car Ferry S.S. Badger not a National Historic Landmark

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