The two hardest words in the English language to say are “I’m sorry.” The second hardest are, “I was wrong.”
I’m sorry. I was wrong.
This week I published a blog post entitled “Who Likes White People?” Michelle Bachmann Does! This was prompted by a video that circulated around the web of Bachmann speaking at a rally where she greeted the crowd with a question: “Who likes White people?”
At least she would have if she had actually said it. She didn’t. It seems there was a thunderstorm that came down upon the crowd before Bachmann took the stage. What she actually said was, “Who likes WET people?”
No, that doesn’t make much sense to me either, but then I don’t expend much energy trying to figure out why Bachmann says the things she does.. However, that is what she actually said before some joker got ahold of the video and manipulated the audio from “wet” to “white.”
Both the post and the video have both been removed from The Domino Theory never to be seen or heard from again. Sometimes if a story sounds too good to be true it means it probably isn’t.
An edited video that makes it appear as if Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann asked an Iowa crowd, “Who likes white people?” is quickly spreading around the Web. However, if you watch the full, unedited version of the video, it’s clear the Minnesota congresswoman said something very different.
Bachmann made a campaign stop at the Midwest Spirit Christian Music Festival on Aug. 5 in West Des Moines to give a speech about her Christian faith. It was raining during her the appearance, so when Bachmann took the stage, she asked, “Who likes wet people?” referring to the still-damp masses who stuck around for her talk.
“Yeah, that’s right. Because we have the God of the winds and the rain don’t we?” she said immediately after–a key phrasing that was edited out of the shorter clip. “We serve a mighty God.”
Am I a bit embarrassed to have been taken in by an Internet prankster? Yes I am. Is there a part of me that wishes Bachmann had said something so ridiculous? Yes there is. Yet despite the fact that nothing I write on this blog will in any way, shape or form, impact upon Bachmann’s run for the Republican presidential nomination, I can’t consider myself any sort of ethical journalist if I publish something that is proven to be false.
I know of some bloggers who call themselves “citizen journalists” which is simply a way of claiming they should be taken seriously the same as any trained and professional journalist even if they have no training or experience as journalists.
That is an escape hatch I don’t choose to use myself.
I’m not any kind of “citizen journalist.” I’m a journalist who writes a blog. The occasional usage of four-letter words should be a tip-off I’m not playing by the Associated Press Stylebook. This is an outlet for my opinions and some are better formulated than others.
I can’t make this work if I’m willfully misleading or carelessly sloppy. There’s no way I can rip someone like Andrew Breitbart for deliberately maligning Shirley Sherrod if I’m equally willing to play fast and loose with the facts.
It’s not as if there aren’t enough odd things said by Bachmann on a regular basis. After Hurricane Irene blew through Bachmann quipped, “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people, because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet, and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
It’s not like there’s any need to make up stuff about Bachmann. Soooner or later she’ll say something that justifies holding her up for ridicule. This time though basic fairness demands I set the record straight.
I apologize to anyone whom I misled with the doctored Michelle Bachmann video. I know she’ll never see this and it’s even less likely she would accept it, but I apologize to Michelle Bachmann as well.
In my 19 years as a journalist this is the first retraction I’ve ever had to make . Trying to maintain some sort of ethical standard isn’t always as easy as it looks. What do I regret most? I really regret all those extra hits to the blog made over a mistake.
- Michele Bachmann: “Who likes white people?” (or are they merely wet?) (boingboing.net)
- That Michele Bachmann ‘Who Likes White People’ Video Is Lying to You [Video] (gawker.com)
- Michele Bachmann Did Not Say ‘Who Likes White People?’ (mediaite.com)