Thursday, March 26, 2009

Much Ado! Or, Adventures in Blogging

Yesterday, I posted a piece from Politico's Huddle about Rep. Mike Rogers claiming D.C. residency for tax purposes. Politico is a respected, mainstream Washington site with solid content.

I cross-posted at LivingBlue & asked Michigan Liberal to post as well. So far, so good. Then, having a life outside the keyboard, I toddled off to do other things for the day.

This is where it turned into an episode from I Love Lucy.

Turns out that the Politico reporter got it wrong. It was in fact Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, not Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, claiming the tax deduction. Though the reporter changed the on-line post later that morning, he didn't note that it was a correction or notify his email subscribers.

That's when the phone calls started. And the emails. (Remember that part about "having a life outside the keyboard"? Silly me!)

After updating the post here with a correction, I provided our local reporter and other area blogs with the original Huddle e-mail citing Michigan Mike. I also emailed the Politico reporter to ask why he didn't note it as a correction -- since I was certainly having to do that -- and learned that he would run one the next day. To cap off the weirdness, another Washington blog reported that Alabama Mike had not, in fact, requested a tax deduction from the District of Columbia!

As promised, reporter Martin Kady II of Politico's Huddle ran the correction this morning:
CORRECTION FROM WEDNESDAY HUDDLE: An item in yesterday’s Huddle titled “Improper Tax Break” named the wrong Rep. Mike Rogers. We fixed it online, but want to make sure our e-mail subscribers know it should have been Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). Further, the office of the Alabama Mike Rogers followed up to say that Rogers did not seek a D.C. homestead deduction and was not aware he was receiving that tax break, and he has documents from the city’s tax office that show he never applied for this deduction.
Meme alert: today, the local paper ran a story about the story about the story.

A few takeaways from yesterday's kerfuffle:

1.) Information moves across the internet with impressive speed. Writers -- whether bloggers or full-time reporters -- have a responsibility to correct errors of fact as soon as possible. Since I began blogging for this and other sites in December of 2006, I have provided links to original sources for my posts. If I find that a source is in error, it's noted promptly. If the error is mine, that gets noted, too.

2.) Blogging isn't inherently bad (sorry, Susan). As in journalism, there is a wide range of content: no one equates the Wall Street Journal with the New York Post, and no one is confusing Gawker with The Economist. Likewise, the public knows that the Boston Globe and the Detroit News will offer differing analyses of the same event.

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood is a political blog. While readers may not agree with the opinions expressed here, it's important to remember that those opinions are based on real world sources: voting records, interviews, news coverage and public statements. Neighborhood contributors blog responsibly and we intend to continue doing so.

Join the conversation and let us know what you think!

1 comment:

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