Right Wing News blogger John Hawkins’ misquotation of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker resulted in him being called a liar and mocked by media outlets.
Hawkins had originally written on his blog, before his apology, that Walker had voted for Ronald Reagan, the Huffington Post reported.
However, that is impossible because of Walker’s age; he would have been too young to vote for Reagan in either of his presidential elections (1980 and 1984).
Pointing to Canadian blog The Political Environment’s post, the Huffington Post wrote:
“As one blogger notes, Walker, who was born in 1967, would have been 13 when Reagan first ran for president and only 17 when Reagan was reelected.”
Gawker relied on the misquotation when it claimed: Walker “got caught in an eensy lie today, when he insisted he’d voted for conservative hero Ronald Reagan, and forgot he was too young to vote for Reagan.”
The International Business Times mocked the Governor, and suggested possible voter fraud: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a big fan of former President Ronald Reagan, but is he a big enough fan to have committed voter fraud to get him into office?”
Both sites have since published updates acknowledging the misquote.
The truth was that Hawkins had originally reported on his blog Jan. 17 that Walker had said in an interview:
“I remember, I was a teenager, had just become a teenager and voted for Ronald Reagan — limited government, you know, smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense.”
By Feb. 10, Hawkins published a correction admitting his “transcriptionist made an error.” The real quote was:
“A vote for Ronald Reagan meant limited government, you know, smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense. You knew what you were getting. You knew how a Reagan administration, a Reagan presidency was going to be better for you.”
Hawkins included a recorded excerpt of Walker’s comments in the interview and apologized. “All I can do at this point is apologize for the error. This was our mistake and it was very unfair to Scott Walker who is catching flack because of an honest error on our part,” he wrote.
The supposed gotcha was all so much fun until the apology pulled the plug on it.
Slate soon labeled it “the gaffe that never was,” and pointed to a Democratic PAC American Bridge, which promoted the error.
Fox News’ Bret Baier devoted an on-air segment to the error, noting the Reagan comments made the rounds in the media.
iMediaEthics has written to Scott Walker’s office for comment.