AFP FINALLY Corrects Their Labeling of Spitzer as an (R) -- Big Deal

NewsBusters.org | Media Research Center
Not Minding Their Ps & Qs
We on Thursday brought you the Agence France-Presse (AFP)'s ludicrous labeling of self-ousted New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as an (R). This after a week's worth of the Gong Show Media's failure or utter refusal to ascribe any Party affiliation to the man.

Well, we have heard word from the horse's ... mouth.

DScott, an intrepid NewsBusters participant, contacted AFP to point out their inanity. And in the wee small hours of Friday morning -- they wrote back.

DScott was generous enough to share it with us, and we now, in turn, share it with you:

Subject: D not R, yes, thanks
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 12:28:38 +0100
From: "Michel VIATTEAU" Add Mobile Alert
To: [Redacted - DScott's email address]

Dear reader,

Thank you for your interest.

Accuracy is our absolute priority and we are grateful to you for pointing out the mistake on this photo caption. The error has been corrected on our service though you may still find a few instances of it on client Internet sites to which we have no immediate access.

Regards, David Williams, deputy editor

In practical terms, this means very little. The vast majority of any damage done -- the error was in place when the news was in fact still news -- has already occurred.

Besides which:

... you may still find a few instances of it on client Internet sites to which we have no immediate access.

A wire service correcting only their copy -- and not reaching out to at least the majors amongst their clients to do the same -- accomplishes very little.

Very few people rush to AFP.com to check days-old stories (I believe it is similar in phone-booth group size to that which watches MSNBC) who will then and there see the correction.

Their client list is undoubtedly large, and the prospect of contacting them all daunting. But to not contact a few huge clients -- like say Yahoo!, which is where where we found it -- shows you are perhaps less than completely serious about rectifying the situation.

Proving the ineffectiveness of their approach to restoring "absolute accuracy": Where we saw the error initially -- we see it still.

One wonders how they have handled, and would handle again, errors that harm Democrats rather than help them.

Seton Motley
Seton Motley
Founder and president of Less Government.