December 15, 2011

NEW YORK TIMES: Romney Ku Klux Klan Report Backfires on Media.

Don’t just repeat it. Report it.

That’s the lesson this week for MSNBC and for The Washington Post, both of which apologized for repeating a liberal blog’s claim that Mitt Romney had uttered a phrase on the campaign stump that was used in the past by the Ku Klux Klan.

It appears that Mr. Romney did not in fact say the words “keep America American,” as AMERICAblog reported on Tuesday. The blog said that he had done so on two occasions, one last year and one last week, and stated (accurately) that “Keep America American” was a phrase employed by the K.K.K. in the 1920s.

But Mr. Romney had actually said “keep America America” on both occasions, according to online video.

MSNBC apparently did not contact the Romney campaign for comment before it briefly reported on Wednesday morning that “you may not hear Mitt Romney say ‘Keep America American’ anymore, because it was a rallying cry for the K.K.K. group.” The anchor credited AMERICAblog; the graphic on the screen read, “Romney’s KKK Slogan?”

Conservative blogs called out MSNBC for the report, and when executives at MSNBC and NBC News saw that, they were disturbed that the blog’s observation was reported as fact, without any added reporting.

That’s pretty much how they do everything: Without any added reporting.