Thursday, October 09, 2014

Washington Post Removes Error on Bolivian Election, But Hasn't Corrected Record

The Washington Post's preview of the Bolivian election included this alarming statement:
In some traditional highland communities, villagers vote collectively and in public, with no dissenting ballots allowed, often delivering 100 percent margins for Morales.
That'd be a rather damning indictment of the Bolivian elector process, if it was true. But it isn't.

The Post now realizes that. The article, by Nick Miroff, went online on Monday, and the Post subsequently removed the sentence from the piece (they apparently caught the problem reasonably quickly, as the sentence was removed in time for Tuesday's print edition). You can still see the sentence in various reprints of the original article or via Google:

But the Post hasn't put a correction note into the online article. You wouldn't know that the paper had let something into an article falsely impugning the integrity of a country's electoral system, and then simply removed it after realizing the facts weren't right. It's a substantive error.

The Post updated its online corrections policy in January 2013, and it seems to have an instruction on situations like this:
We are committed to accuracy and transparency. We generally revise the story to make it accurate AND append a correction to the file. Typically, online corrections read like this: “Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported …”
 The Post should append a correction to the online article.


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