Tuesday, April 23, 2013

MinnPost sends Eric Black's Mistakes Down the Memory Hole

Eric Black, formerly of the Star Tribune, and now of MinnPost, wrote an article today speculating that Michele Bachmann would retire rather than run again against Jim Graves again.

Black cites, in his words, “Lots of Republicans” to make his case, including one alleged Republican who also cites “a lot of Republicans” who think that Bachmann is particularly vulnerable. How meta.

That Eric Black would post shoddy political analysis that supports his preconceived notions and is based on thin, anonymous sources is not even the least bit remarkable, and is hardly worth mentioning, except for the added twist of the disappearing sentence.

This article came to my attention because Derek Brigham noted on Twitter that Black had included Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers as a potential replacement for Bachmann if she were to retire.

The problem, as anyone with even a passing familiarity with MN Politics would immediately recognize, is that Zellers lives in Maple Grove, which is in the Third, not the Sixth district.

When I clicked on the article to see Black’s erroneous report, I noticed that there was no mention of Zellers in the article, which left me a bit confused.  After a tiny bit of investigation, it became clear that Black had erased his mention of Zellers from the post.  (Black had also mentioned Pete Hegseth and Tom Emmer as potential candidates- those names were erased as well.)

The only mention of Zellers, et al., was the “Related Tags” section at the bottom of the page.

As I mentioned on Twitter at the time, I am “just a blogger” and I don’t work for a fancy non-profit online newspaper, but even I know that when you make material changes to a post you should note that in the original post.

Apparently those same standards don’t apply over at MinnPost.  Or they do, and Black just didn’t apply them.

I asked David Brauer, a prolific tweeter and MinnPost writer, if MinnPost has a policy on noting updates. He confirmed that while there may not be a specific policy, if the change is not trivial, it should be noted.

It’s no surprise that Black would want to make his embarassing mistake just go away.

I mean, if you can’t get the basic facts right, what does that say about the rest of your analysis?