But there was something wrong with HuffPost’s initial account, as Arianna Huffington herself somewhat acknowledged. Vardon’s story reports that Huffington “said the site’s initial report was created by a worker who misinterpreted a reporter’s tweet,” presumably this tweet by Jon Ward. The problem—beyond the fact that the site apparently had one employee assembling articles based on another staffer’s tweets, which sounds like an invitation to error—is that while HuffPost did update its story to clear up the misrepresentation, it did not post a correction. The story is marked as “updated,” but there’s no indication that the initial item distorted Kasich’s words in a way that made them sound more inflammatory. (My own inquiry to HuffPost on Friday about details of the error and the need for a correction was not answered.)
HuffPost has emerged as an influential news organization, and one that, despite its progressive leanings, is widely respected enough to co-host events at a Republican gathering. It’s done that by mixing traditional reporting with a flair for social media and the relentless pace of the digital age. But the site could bolster its credibility with some more old-fashioned approaches: a more careful handling of dicey material, and a clear correction, not simply an update, when it gets something wrong.
As we bear down on election day, bloggers will continue to speak their political minds. It’s up to media outlets—new and old alike—to keep audiences apprised of the full story.