Politico Adds Editor's Note to Satire Column, MSNBC Corrects

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(Credit: Politico, screenshot, highlight added)

News outlets including Mediaite, MSNBC, Gawker and the New York Times reported “as fact” from a “column that Politico intended as satire,” the Times reported.

The Politico report, “Paul Ryan vs. The Stench,” “conjured a situation in which [Paul] Ryan was doing all he could on the campaign trail to distance himself from [Mitt] Romney” including the nickname “Stench.”

Politico’s article is tagged a “Political Column” and carries an “author’s note” reading:

“Jonathan Swift did not really want Irish people to sell their children for food in 1729; George Orwell did not really want the clocks to strike thirteen in 1984; Paul Ryan, I am sure, calls Mitt Romney something more dignified than “Stench” and Microsoft did not invent PowerPoint as a means to euthanize cattle. At least I am pretty sure Microsoft didn’t.”

The article also has an “editor’s note” that reads:

“Some readers were confused that this Roger Simon column was satire. Please see Roger’s note at the end …. .”

The New York Times’ Paul Krugman later struck through most of his blog post and added an update that “OK, the word is that this was really clumsy satire.”

Media Bistro reported that MSNBC posted an apology on its online blog saying in part “We regret and apologize for presenting some of the quotes in Roger Simon’s piece the way we did.”

Mediaite added an update about the Politico article being described as “satire,” but defended its post because “in my defense, I used scare-quotes in the headline, and correctly identified the remarks themselves as satirical in nature.”

Fox News called out the New York Times specifically for being tricked by the Politico column writing:

“Memo to the media: Clearly mark political satire, especially if it makes Republicans look bad. Otherwise, you might fool a Nobel prize-winning New York Times columnist.”

Meanwhile, the Village Voice singled out Gawker’s report on the Politico article.

iMediaEthics has written to Politico seeking more information about this and will update with any response.

Hat Tip: Tom Jolly

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Politico Adds Editor’s Note to Satire Column, MSNBC Corrects

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