CNN’s typo in a quote about Mitt Romney significantly changed the meaning of the comment, made by billionaire John Catsimatidis. The “typo” is significant since the article is about “financial backers of Romney,” including Catsimatidis, who were “still not happy” with Romney’s campaign “messaging and execution.”
But, when iMediaEthics brought the error to CNN’s attention, after iMediaEthics e-mailed Catsimatidis, CNN fixed the mis-quote without transparency and failed to respond to follow-up emails asking for correction notices.
CNN’s Sept. 21 article, “Some Romney Backers Still Frustrated with State of Campaign,” quoted the Red Apple Group grocery store CEO as saying Romney is a “level headed buy.” But, Catsimatidis told iMediaEthics by email that he “never said the word buy.”
“I would never talk in that context,” Catsimatidis wrote in an e-mail to iMediaEthics, adding that “I believe I have used in other media [the phrase] level headed business person.”
iMediaEthics asked CNN about the error. CNN PR manager Erica Puntel told iMediaEthics by email:
“We’ve corrected the typo. He said ‘level headed guy’ — ‘b’ is below ‘g’ on the keyboard.
“It’s been updated on the link.”
We responded to Puntel asking if it scrubbed its error based on a transcript of the interview or using guesswork that it was simply a typo. We also asked why there isn’t a transparent correction for readers since the typo significantly changed the meaning of the quote attributed to Catsimatidis, who is listed by Forbes as one of the “400 Richest Americans” and recently announced “he’s setting up an exploratory committee to consider running for mayor,” according to the NY Post.
Puntel did not respond to three follow-up emails dated Oct. 6, Oct. 11 and Nov. 26, and CNN’s senior director of PR Matt Dornic didn’t respond to a final email seeking answers on Nov. 28.
UPDATE: 12/6/2012 1:46 PM EST: Added in about Catsimatidis’s potential mayoral candidacy