Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ABC Eats Its Words on Blackwater Report

Take a look at this attempted sleight of hand by ABC News. The network giant reported on its website that Cerberus Capital Management, the hedge fund that bought Chrysler, is angling for a $200 million stake in Blackwater Worldwide.

The Wall Street Journal countered with a blog story that the ABC item is untrue. Whereas ABC relied on an anonymous source, the Journal did something real journalists do: It called a real person and quoted him by name. After the inaccurate ABC report came out, a Journal reporter phoned Cerberus operations chief Mark Neporent, who acknowledged consideration of an investment in Blackwater but said no deal was in the works. ABC was wrong.

After the Wall Street Journal went online with the debunking, pulled down its original story and replaced it with one headlined, "Exclusive: Investment Giant Ends Talks with Blackwater." kept the same URL as the original inaccurate story, as if to fool people. (Imagine if Blackwater had done such a thing!)

ABC put the best spin on its reporting reversal, saying, "After news broke this morning on the Blotter on of the ongoing talks between the investment giant Cerberus and the controversial security firm Blackwater, the talks have now ceased, and there will be no deal."

No word from the guys in Moyock.

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