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Monday, October 3, 2011
When Will NewsBusters Correct Its $16 Muffin Post?
Topic: NewsBusters

A current entry in the "Editor's Picks" on the NewsBusters front page reads, "Washington Post ombudsman refutes media-hyped $16 muffin."

It links to an Oct. 2 Post column by ombudsman Patrick Pexton, who writes that he thought the story of the $16 muffin fowarded by the Department of Justice's inspector "was just a bit too good to be true" -- a suspicion that turned out to be entirely correct. He took Post reporters to task for running with the story without first contacting the hotel where the conference serving the muffins took place for its reaction. The receipts examined by the IG were imprecise, the hotel pointed out, and that the actual cost was $14.72 for both breakfast and an afternoon snack.

In attacking the muffin story as "media hyped," NewsBusters fails to mention that among the media doing the hyping was NewsBusters. As we've detailed, a Sept. 29 post by Noel Sheppard uncritically repeated the $16 muffin story, even though by that time the hotel had provided its own explanation -- and shortly before the DOJ IG itself backed off the claim.

Now that NewsBusters admits the muffin story is bogus, when will it correct Sheppard's post? And when it does, will it publish that correction prominently on the NewsBusters front page, where Sheppard's post first appeared and where NewsBusters' previously stated stance on publishing corrections on the same page the original article appeared on would dictate? Or will it bury it in Sheppard's days-old post and hopes nobody notices?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:19 PM EDT

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