WaPo Ombudsman: Palin Hoax Got Past 'Post Editor'

Patrick Pexton, the Washington Post's ombudsman, admitted in a Tuesday phone call to a Post reader that the news story in which a Post writer relied on information from a satirical website to report Sarah Palin had signed on as a "contributor to the Al Jazeera America news network" also got past a "Post editor." 

Breitbart News has exclusively obtained a voicemail Pexton left, on Tuesday, to a Post reader who called him after he was outraged the mainstream media organization could get so badly duped.

"Shame on us," Pexton says in the voicemail. "That was a terrible mistake, I agree with you. It got through one editor, obviously the writer made the mistake and it got through one Post editor. So, shame on us--anyway--thanks for calling. Bye."

The writer is Suzi Parker, and the editor is "She the People" editor Melinda Henneberger.

The transcript of the voicemail is below:

"Hi, this is Patrick Pexton. I'm the ombudsman for the Washington Post. You called about the Sarah Palin mistaken story, um, yes, you are correct, that was based on a satiric website, 'The Daily Current.' She totally missed that. Uh, shame on us. It was corrected within an hour or two later, uh, and a corrected version is online. That was a terrible mistake, I agree with you. It got through one editor, obviously the writer made the mistake and it got through one Post editor. So, shame on us--anyway--thanks for calling. Bye."

On Tuesday, Parker published the false report, and "She The People" editor Melinda Henneberger approved it. The newspaper, as Pexton noted, issued a correction:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Sarah Palin had signed on as a contributor to the Al Jazeera America news network. The blogger cited a report on the Daily Currant Web site as the basis for that information without realizing that the piece was satirical.

The Daily Currant has also featured such headlines as, "Catholic Church Considering Jerry Sandusky as Next Pope." Parker was resoundingly mocked on Twitter, with people tweeting other potential Parker scoops with the satirical hashtag, "#suziparkerscoops."

Pexton will leave the Post after March 1st; the publication does not have any immediate plans to hire a replacement


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