Top 10 Political Reporting Errors of the Year - iMediaEthics

iMediaEthics publishes international media ethics news stories and investigations into journalism ethics lapses.


Home » Errors»

(Credit: London Allen, Antique prints by Jacques-Laurent Agasse/Carl Brodtmann)

This year, there were so many glaring or entertaining corrections we had to divvy up our annual corrections lists in categories. Below check out iMediaEthics’ ten favorite political corrections of 2015.

10. Sectarian versus Secular

The Washington Post mixed up sectarian and secular, which are basically opposites, when reporting on a speech by Pres. Obama at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.  The Post’s correction?  “Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted President Obama as saying the world must address ‘secular conflict.’ He actually said ‘sectarian.’ The headline and first paragraphs of this version have been corrected.”

9. Obama’s not an assclown, either

Minnesota newspaper St. Paul Pioneer Press corrected after calling Pres. Obama an “assclown” in a photo caption from a February BuzzFeed video showing the president using a selfie stick. The caption writer told iMediaEthics he was really trying to mock people who take selfies, with a little “dig” at the president but misfired. The corrected caption changed assclown to celebrity.

8. Putin is NOT Jihadi John.

In March, CNN erroneously used the on-screen text “Reports: Jihadi John Identified” with a photo of Vladimir Putin, suggesting that Russia’s Putin was the man behind the ISIS mask. This aired when the world learned the identity of the British ISIS terrorist as Mohammed Emwazi, but before he was reportedly killed via a drone strike. CNN issued the following statement correcting the error: “Due to a failure of a video server during today’s breaking news broadcast, a photo of Vladimir Putin, prepared for our next report, was accidentally shown. We apologize for that mistake.”

7. Obama wasn’t suspected of sexual assault
President Barack Obama had a rough year in corrections-land. And this isn’t even the last Obama-related correction on our list.

San Diego TV news Fox 5 apologized after using a photo of Obama with the headline “no charges” during a February story on a sexual assault suspect who would not face prosecution. In an on-air apology, the station announced: “We have an apology now. Friday night at 10 o’clock, we inadvertently used a photo of President Obama while reporting on a story about charges being dropped in a local case. We regret the error.”

6. Pres. Obama also isn’t the Antichrist
Also in February, the Lexington Dispatch in North Carolina incorrectly said that a reader thinks Pres. Obama is the Antichrist. In fact, the reader thought Obama might be the seventh king that comes before the Antichrist in the Book of Revelations.  The newspaper’s correction reads: “Boyd Thomas’ letter Saturday contained an error in the headline. He does not believe President Obama is the Antichrist, who will come after seven kings, according to Revelation. He thinks Obama could be the seventh king.”

5. Romney isn’t running for president
In January, the Daily Beast trumped an exclusive report based on anonymous sources that Mitt Romney was throwing his hat in the ring  for the 2016 presidential election. But, Romney announced the same day as the Daily Beast report that he would not be running again. The Daily Beast admitted error, tweeting “we got it wrong.”

4. Joe Biden isn’t either
In October, the Washington Post published a pre-prepared story about Joe Biden announcing his candidacy for president. But Biden didn’t make that announcement, and later said he wouldn’t be running.  The Post told iMediaEthics: “Earlier tonight, a technical glitch occurred when video was being embedded into a story prepared in case of an announcement from Vice President Biden, inadvertently causing it to be published. The story was immediately pulled back down, and The Post regrets the error.”

3. Queen Elizabeth II didn’t buy a sweet apartment in NYC
Several news outlets wrongly reported that Queen Elizabeth II bought an $8 million apartment near the United Nations this summer. But, the apartment was actually bought by New Zealand as a residence for its UN ambassador. The New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade told iMediaEthics it suspected the error happened because Queen Elizabeth II is New Zealand’s technical head of state and her name is on some legal documents.

2. Prince Charles isn’t in the IRA
The Washington Post corrected in May after it suggested Prince Charles was a secret member of the Irish Republican Army. The Post mixed up Prince Charles with Gerry Adams in its sentence intending to say Adams always “denied he’s a member of the IRA.”

“Correction: An earlier version of this story transposed the names of Prince Charles and Gerry Adams. This version has been corrected,” the correction reads.

1. Love Trump’s Hate, or Love trumps hate? An apostrophe makes all the difference.
The Globe and Mail produced the most amusing correction of the year when it showed that grammar really does matter. After Donald Trump suggested banning Muslims from entering the United States, Hillary Clinton tweeted “love trumps hate.” But by the time the tweet made it to the Globe and Mail‘s article, a simple apostrophe was added, changing the meaning of the phrase from saying love is greater than hate to suggesting people should love Donald Trump’s hate. The correction: “A Wednesday news story on Donald Trump incorrectly quoted a Hillary Clinton tweet as saying ‘Love Trump’s Hate.’ In fact, the tweet was ‘love trumps hate.”

Submit a tip / Report a problem

Top 10 Political Reporting Errors of the Year

Share this article:

Comments Terms and Conditions

  • We reserve the right to edit/delete comments which harass, libel, use coarse language and profanity.
  • We moderate comments especially when there is conflict or negativity among commenters.
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *