The Palo Alto Daily Post’s source for an article on council members’ e-mails apologized to council members according to MenloParkPatch.com . Californians Aware attorney Terry Francke had commented in a Daily Post story calling an e-mail exchange between council members a “Serious Brown Act violation.”
The Oct. 28 Palo Alto Daily Post article in question was headlined “City Hall Email Used for Politics: Messages give behind-the-scenes view of campaigns.”
“Francke apologized for the quote” to council members, Patch.com reported. Further Francke reportedly explained that he made his comments based on what the reporter told him–not based on actually reading the e-mails since the reporter never sent them to him. Also, one of the council members, Heyward Robinson, reportedly e-mailed the Post “demanding” a retraction and apology as well as a “reprimand” for all Palo Alto Daily Post staff involved in the story.
The Patch site covers local area Menlo Park. The Palo Alto Daily Post is print only and doesn’t publish any stories online.
CORRECTION - November 27, 2010 11:25 AM
We incorrectly reported that The Palo Alto Daily Post apologized to a source. Instead, it was only their source, Terry Francke, who apologized to council members for an opinion he made–solicited by a Daily Post reporter and published by the paper without independent verification.MenloParkPatch reported that Francke “revealed that the Post’s reporter David DeBolt did not send him copies of the e-mails, but just gave him a description over the phone.” Patch also reported that the paper received demands that “the paper’s editorial staff retract the original article, issue an apology, and reprimand the reporter and editors involved.”Dave Price, the Daily Post’s publisher, told StinkyJournalism by email: “Once the Post became aware of the mistake, it corrected the error made by Mr. Francke.” Kelly Fergusson, one of the council members originally accused of wrongdoing in the Daily Post, concludes in the Patch report: “I’m glad that Francke is setting the record straight, but I wish they’d [The Palo Alto Daily Post & Francke] gotten the facts straight the first time.”We are writing Francke for verification and comment.