John Pickering was fired as an editor for Bloomberg News after he got the verdict wrong in a headline for a story about Fabrice Tourre, the New York Post reported.
Tourre is a former trader for Goldman Sachs. He was found “liable on six of seven claims that he violated federal securities law by intentionally misleading investors,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “The jurors also determined he had aided and abetted an alleged fraud by Goldman.” (More on the charges against Tourre and the trial over at Time.)
According to the New York Post, Pickering posted the headline “BREAKING: Fabrice Tourre Wins SEC case claiming fraud in $1 billion CDO deal.”
The headline was tweeted to Bloomberg News’ nearly one million followers. “Bloomgerg [sic] News later deleted its original tweet and issued the following correction,” the Huffington Post reported.
CORREX.: Fabrice Tourre loses SEC case claiming fraud in $1 billion CDO deal
— Bloomberg News (@BloombergNews) August 1, 2013
The headline also apparently made it to Bloomberg’s TV broadcast, evidenced by a screenshot of the error on Bloomberg posted by Huffington Post.
In addition, the error was “sent through [Bloomberg’s] proprietary Terminal,” Media Bistro added, noting that subscription to the Terminal costs $24,000 a year. “The Terminal is widely revered for its speed and accuracy, which makes the incorrect verdict all the more surprising,” Media Bistro added.
The New York Post’s anonymous sources said Pickering was fired within a day of the error but Bloomberg wouldn’t comment on the firing.
iMediaEthics wrote to Pickering’s Bloomberg e-mail account but received a bounce-back message saying, “Your Bloomberg contact has changed” suggesting Pickering’s Bloomberg e-mail has apparently been shut down.
The Huffington Post suggested the error was made because Bloomberg News prepared reports for either scenario of Tourre being found guilty or not guilty and hit “publish” on the wrong scenario. Back in 2011, the Daily Mail made a similar high-profile error when it hit “publish” on the wrong version of a verdict report. The Mail posted a story saying that Amanda Knox was found guilty in her appeal of her murder conviction in the death of her roommate Meredith Kercher.
iMediaEthics has reached out to Bloomberg News seeking confirmation of Pickering’s firing, a response to the New York Post‘s claims and for more information about the Tourre error and where it was distributed. We’ll update with any response.