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January 22, 2009

Correction, Corrected

My original correction was a bit tentative as I didn't know the facts. I wrote that Jake Tapper had said --

Obama is the first President since Washington to step down into the presidency.

Having now read/searched the transcripts of ABCNews' inaugural day coverage, I can say that Tapper did not say this, or anything even close to this. He actually didn't say very much throughout the day, and it was all standard reportage. I didn't even see anything praising Obama at all.

In fact, a search for "George Washington" doesn't pull up a quote from anyone else, either.

He simply didn't say it, and I was slapdash to write that he had.

What probably happened is that someone interviewed said it, or it was said on another network. Drew really never sent this as a "tip," just as chatter in email as we seethed throughout the day, so he didn't work hard to pin down the time or precise details about it -- he didn't expect me to pull it out of an email and parade it around as a fact, and I shouldn't have done so. He was flipping through channels and remarking casually about the coverage, not in reporter/blog-tipping mode.

It's not Drew's fault, it's mine. And right now I'm working to correct this. I have reported something in error and it seems to be getting spread further. Not only am I embarrassed about getting it wrong, but Tapper really does try more than most to keep it fair.

As some have noted, and I thought myself at the time -- this really never sounded like something Tapper would say. You don't spend years working up a reputation as an impartial reporter just to piss it away indulging a Matthews-esque thrill up the leg puffery.

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posted by Ace at 06:30 PM

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