The juxtaposition of this story (Patch going down the tubes, basically) and this fiasco at the Herndon Patch today was too much to pass up for a quick hit here at Blue Virginia. What happened at the Herndon Patch, you ask?
1. They posted a story on Terry McAuliffe’s remarks to the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, supposedly saying “he supports the bi-county parkway and a bridge across the Potomac” just days after saying he needed more information and analysis of the Bi-County parkway before making a decision. Gotcha, right? Well…
2. No. Shortly after posting the first edition of this story, the Herndon Patch added this “Editor’s Note.”
Patch has received many questions about Terry McAuliffe’s statement to the Chamber regarding his position on the bi-county parkway. We asked McAuliffe’s camp to clarify his statement, and they responded that he supports the repair or replacement of the bridge across the Potomac before it becomes unusable, but takes no position on the bi-county parkway at this time.
In other words, McAuliffe did NOT change his position on the parkway, as originally reported by the Herndon Patch. So much for that story…whatever, it’s just “journalism” after all!
3. In an attempt to explain what happened, the Herndon Patch editor wrote in the comments section that “[t]he sentence that said he supported the parkway was provided to us by the chamber.” In other words, they didn’t have a reporter at the event, or apparently any audio or video, to confirm that Terry McAuliffe had said what the paper claimed he said. They just went with what someone who doesn’t even work for their paper said he said. Ugh.
4. A comment by “Lynn” following the editor’s shift-the-blame exercise wasn’t buying it. To the contrary, it cited “the poor journalism in this case,” noting that “a reporter should always follow-up on the facts to ensure accuracy before publishing,” and that this is “[e]specially [important] for a topic as sensitive as this.” Ya think? 😉
5. Also note that the Herndon Patch spells “Democratic” as “Democrstic” in the caption to its photo. And for whatever odd reason, it consistently uses lower case for the proper name, “Bi-County Parkway.” Yes, in addition to Journalism 101, the Herndon Patch also fails the SOL English section.
Bottom line: with “reporting” like this, it’s no wonder the Patch is circling the drain as we speak…