Reuters recants (sort of) anti-Soros/OWS hit piece. But how did it happen in the first place?

We wrote yesterday about an anti- George Soros hit piece that Reuters ran yesterday suggesting that Soros was behind the OccupyWallStreet protests because, among other things, Rush Limbaugh said so.

Reuters appears to have recanted their story.  They claim a technical glitch caused the problem.  They’ve edited it, and now rather than a “George Soros appears to be behind OccupyWallStreet” story, it’s a “George Soros is not behind OccupyWallStreet, but hey, let’s publish 32 paragraphs still implying he is and hope that no one notices.”  Reuters left the rest of the story in tact.  Sure, they tweaked it a little.  But seriously, the story is now that George Soros had nothing to do with OccupyWallStreet, and it takes Reuters 32 paragraphs to say that they have no story?

It’s the same story, folks.  They left up all the info implying a connection between Soros and the protesters, and simply changed a few words to, in essence, make it a “Brutus is an honorable man” hit piece on George Soros.

If there’s no story there, then pull the story because – and I know this is really complicated, so read closely – why are you writing an incredibly long (for Reuters) story about something you now admit isn’t a story?  And when most of the story is still implying there is a story?

Not to mention, if it was a technical glitch that led to the story being published in the first place, then why is the original “bad” version still online?  And why is the new, supposedly “good,” version still implying throughout the entire piece that Soros is behind OWS when the title of the piece says he isn’t?  Here is possibly my favorite “explanation” from Reuters for all of this:

Reuters’s editor for ethics and standards Alix M. Freedman indicated that updates like this one are quite common at the newswire. “We update stories all the time when we get more information,” said Parsons. “As soon as the spokesmen for Soros provided us with more information we provided an update.”

Update? You call it an update that the initial story said Soros was behind the OWS protests and the new story says he wasn’t, and then you leave both up? That’s an “update”? This just in from Reuters: Rush Limbaugh, pedophile? Oh, here’s an update, no he’s not, but let’s take another 32 grafs to imply that maybe he is, because it would be embarrassing to just admit our mistake and pull the story.

As AMERICAblog reader Andrew writes this morning, how did this piece happen in the first place, and what’s going to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

I’m curious about how they came to publish a hit piece on OWS and then re-release it as a story in support of OWS that was just as poorly supported. The hit piece was ridiculous, relying on Limbaugh’s opinion and tenuous (to say the least) financial threads. The followup edit said explicitly and without qualification, quote, “George Soros isn’t a financial backer of the Wall Street protests”, yet based it mainly on a statement by a Soros spokesperson. (In addition of course to having had no evidence in the first place.) How does this happen at a major news organization? Shouldn’t some sort of Reuters ombudsman be exhorting the right-wing media to stop running the first piece which they obviously no longer standbehind? Are people getting fired over this?

Reuters opinion writer Felix Salmon has more on this, it’s quite good.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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