***PODCAST EXTRA**** Last week, frequent OTM guest Craig Silverman characterized a video incorrectly while talking with Brooke. OTM producer Chris Neary talks with Silverman about that error. Craig Silverman writes the 'Regret the Error" column and is a fellow at the Tau Center for Digital Journalism.
BROOKE: Last week on the show, I interviewed Craig Silverman about his new project called Emergent dot info - a website that tracks rumors in real time as the media propagates them. But Silverman, who notes media errors in his long-running “Regret the Error” column made an error himself in that segment. He talked to OTM producer Chris Neary about his regret.
CHRIS: At the end of the segment, Brooke and Craig were talking about how rumors can be dispelled. Craig explained that, sometimes, the best debunkings come from people outside the media...
Brooke: Can you give me an example?
Silverman: A really good example of that would be what happened when Barack Obama and John McCain were both running for President. There were of course you know, a persistent rumor, or a persistent lie that Barack Obama was Muslim. And at one of the events where John McCain was doing a town hall - a woman stood up and she described Barack Obama as a Muslim. And John McCain actually said to her very clearly that 'no, He's not. he's a Christian.
CHRIS: Not long after the episode went down our podcast feed, commenter Jim Steitz of Gatlinburg, Tennessee pointed out that McCain never said “Christian.” Then, commenter Ed from NYC noted that the woman never called Obama a Muslim.
TAPE: Woman: I gotta ask you a question. I do not believe in I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's an Arab. He is not... no?
McCain: No ma'am, no ma'am, he's a decent family man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about.
Woman: He's not. Thank you, thank you.
SILVERMAN: And, you know one of the other things I'll say is that so Brooke and I were talking, and then she sort of said, well give me an example of that. And my first reaction was, Oh god, OK, let me think, uh.... and so I took a few seconds and that was the example that popped into the my head.
CHRIS: I Skyped with Craig, who tweeted out a correction soon after the show.
SILVERMAN:.. I didn't stop and say OK I think I have an example let me check it. I didn't say give me a minute or two let me find something here...I think that there was a little bit of pride and maybe a little of ego because when I'm doing the interview and I'm being asked questions, I wanna have the answers.
CHRIS: Journalists explain their mistakes in different ways. A tight deadline. A bad source. You don’t often hear pride. Later in the interview Craig and I started talking about the ‘08 election.
SILVERMAN: Let me stop and look something up... so at one point the Obama campaign had a website called Stop the Smears, and I can't remember if they launched that... during that campaign or... during the... I guess it would be the 2012 campaign no let's see... let's see... [long pause]
CHRIS: There’s a reason why journalists don’t like sound like this. But this, this is the sound of accuracy.
SILVERMAN: Looks like it was 2008, OK. [longish pause] K. Good, alright let me say that again. So in 2008, the Obama campaign launched a website called Stop the Smears, that was aimed to look at some of the misinformation that was flowing around about him...<fades down>
CHRIS: The next morning - I Skyped Craig back.
CHRIS: So, yesterday we were talking about the site that Obama, that the Obama campaign set up, and you were saying that it was called "Stop the Smears", I found that its actually called "Fight the Smears"
SILVERMAN: Fight the Smears! Hahahah. I'd even taken a second to look.
CHRIS: So I'll just ask what I asked yesterday, just for the inside baseball part of it. Why do you think you made that error?
SILVERMAN: Wait, ok so were talking about the Obama one now? [LAUGHTER] I made so many mistakes. I just...I can't even keep them straight anymore. One good piece of advice, generally, is when you're searching for something is to try and go past that first page of Google results. I'm just gonna go punch myself in the face now, basically. Alright?
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, PRI and American Public Media, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.