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Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in At TMV | 4 comments

Website Changes Story About John Kerry

This writer quoted VERBATIM a story about John Kerry. Then the quote source changed its story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In his TMV post “John Kerry not committed to following the law?“, this writer quotes verbatim a story about John Kerry that was published by TheHill.com.

Here is what the story said at the time that this writer read it:

He [Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)] asked Kerry whether the administration would “follow the law” if Congress passes a resolution of disapproval and then overrides a presidential veto of it.
Kerry said he would he would have to consult with the president first, to which Sherman retorted, “So you’re not committed to following the law?”

After this writer published the above verbatim quote, TheHill.com story was changed to read as follows:

He [Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)] also appeared annoyed with Kerry when the secretary said he would need to consult with the president about whether the deal would be implemented if Congress passes a resolution of disapproval — and overrides an expected veto by President Obama.
“So you’re not committed to following the law?” Sherman snapped.

As it turns out, the writers of that above-quoted story left out something important. TheBlaze.com gives a different account as to what was said during that committee hearing (Hat Tip to TMV reader DdW):

Things got slightly tense when Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) pressed Kerry on whether or not he would follow the “law” if Congress decided to override a presidential veto to block the Iran deal.
“Will you follow the law even though you think it violates this agreement clearly and even if you think it’s absolutely terrible policy?” Sherman asked.
“I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the president and determining what the circumstances are,” Kerry responded.
“So you’re not committed to following the law?” the Democrat said.
“No, I said I’m not going to deal with a hypothetical, that’s all,” Kerry shot back.

This isn’t the first time that a quoted source either left out important information or worded something the wrong way. For example, in his Wizbang post “Did Jerusalem Post writer incorrectly quote President Obama?“, this writer defends President Obama after a writer for the Jerusalem Post misquoted an interview of the President.

The benefit of being a political moderate is that one is willing to correct the record when one obtains information that refutes one’s previous comments. Being that this particular writer doesn’t have an agenda or a political ax to grind, he admits to being in error in his aforementioned previous TMV post.

By the way, even a highly-professional journalist can get something completely wrong. For example, during the night of the 2000 presidential election, NBC News prematurely declared a winner. Upon realizing the mistake was made, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said to his audience. “We don’t have egg on our face. We have an entire omelette.”

If Tom Brokaw can make such an admission, then this writer can, too.

Egg on Face - full image

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Personal Note: This writer has never claimed to be a journalist.
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  • DdW

    Thank you for clarifying the “technical aspects” of your quote, Mr.
    Robertson. Kudos to you.

    More importantly, in light of the full and correct context of the exchange, do you still maintain the accusation, “Being hesitant to follow the law is what one would expect from a political extremist,” and do you stick to the headline, “John Kerry not committed to following the law?” Question mark or not.

    Dorian de Wind

  • archangel

    Thanks.

    It has been and will continue to be THE MODERATE VOICE’s policy as it has been for the ten years TMV has been online, to always do corrections in as timely a way as possible.

    Corrections are not unique. They are an absolute in journalism and in credible writing in newspapers, magazines and online. Our editors also take into account what our commenters point out as error. Thanks Dorian and others for making points that were relayed to editorial immediately.

    As Dorian deWind, our Military Affairs editor at THE MODERATE VOICE and other of our writers know well here at TMV, first reports of ‘fact’ are not always accurate. We speak of ‘the fog of first reporting’ on any news story, often the more pointed or shocking [or gleeful sometimes], the more likely the facts will not be clear and dependable until some time has passed.

    This is especially true in other online ‘opinings only’ pieces. There may be much yet to learn, and much left out at first light. We also watch writers across the internet make the error that opinion or bias going into the story, is somehow fact.

    We differentiate: if it’s opinion, it’s only in one’s head -that’s called opinion piece. There are literally millions of ‘opinion pieces’ across the internet. On the other hand, if the news story is verifiable in hard terms– that’s a news story. The rush to ‘be the first’ in scoops on the 24/7 news cycle, has caused many many retractions– later– as big and little news sources back up and re-do first hurried reports.

    Especially in internet land where click bait is far too often more the rule than the rarity, we see unvetted posts. This is why writers’ basic rule, for writing books, articles, op eds, college papers, high school papers, etc, is to cross check facts against at least two credible, meaning reliable track record, sources.

    Here at TMV, we dont care what others at other sites, large or small, do or dont do regarding their errors. We hope here at TMV that our writers hold integrity as to the facts of the story so our readers can find our writers and our website reliable. Making corrections, usually done in one or two sentences, is one way that is done in a time honored manner that our readers recognize immediately.

    Thanks again, all.

  • SteveK

    Thank you David.

  • writer quoted VERBATIM a story … Then the quote source changed its story

    That’s especially tough when a system allows later editing by the author without indicating that the edit was made.

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