On Tuesday, the Times falselyasserted, in a front-page story by Elisabeth Bumiller, that Sarah Palin had once been a member of the Alaska Independence Party. The McCain camp quickly refuted the allegation, and the Times ran a boxed correction on Wednesday...not on the Corrections page, but buried on page 18. "Party Officer Admits Error on Palin in Group," it read, as if the Times was not to blame for its bad reporting. An excerpt:
The information in the Times article was based on a statement issued Monday night by Lynette Clark, the party's chairwoman, who said Ms. Palin joined the party in 1994, and in 1996 changed her registration to Republican.
On Tuesday night, Ms. Clark said her initial statement was incorrect and had been based on erroneous information provided by another member of the party whom she declined to identify. The McCain campaign also disputed the Times report, saying Ms. Palin had consistently been registered as a Republican.
After checking the party's archives, Ms. Clark said she could find no documentation that Ms. Palin had been a member.
In an early Wednesday posting on the official John McCain website, "Bumiller Stands By Her Story...After Paper Retracts," campaign blogger Michael Goldfarb complained that reporter Bumiller still stood byher mistake:
Just to be clear, Bumiller asserted as fact what turns out to have been an "incorrect" statement by a single, unidentified source. Given that the story appeared on the front-page of this country's 'paper of record,' we might be forgiven for expecting a slightly more rigorous standard of reporting, yet Bumiller makes no apologies. Howard Kurtz reports in today's Washington Post:
Elisabeth Bumiller, the lead author of the Times report, said she is "completely confident about the story." As for the campaign's criticism, she said: "This is what they do. It's part of their operation."
She is completely confident in the word of a single source who has since retracted her claims? What kind of operation are the editors at the Times running?