Politico deceptively edited its lead story from Tuesday, “Immigration’s new ally: Tea partiers” that originally erroneously argued the Tea Party was an “ally” of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. The changes came after Breitbart News caught the site red-handed in a number of factual errors.
Politico made several substantive changes to its piece and the only notification it gave to readers of those corrections was an updated time stamp next to the authors’ bylines.
Originally, Politico had argued that TheTeaParty.net and the Tea Party Express both supported the immigration bill. However, each group told Breitbart News they do not support the legislation.
Also in the original story, referring to a meeting Gang of Eight member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and his staff had with various political organizations, Politico’s Anna Palmer and Tarini Parti wrote: “The groups in the meeting support immigration reform.” The original story had no quote from any groups, but named two Tea Party groups present at the meeting to make it appear that the Tea Party movement was an “ally” of Gang of Eight members, particularly Rubio, on this bill.
Politico cited no other Tea Party group in favor of the legislation and did not point to any other Tea Party groups that were at a meeting with Rubio and his staff on Tuesday.
After Breitbart News’ story detailing how both groups do not support the immigration bill, Politico changed its assertion that “The groups in the meeting support immigration reform” to “Most of the groups in the meeting support immigration reform.”
Politico also inserted a paragraph attempting to argue that the Tea Party groups that do not support the bill came out with that position as a response to its story. “Some tea party groups moved quickly to distance themselves from supporting the Senate Gang of Eight’s immigration package just hours after the meeting with Rubio was reported,” the authors wrote in the new version of its story.
Politico also inserted a quote from the TheTeaParty.Net’s Niger Innis detailing his group’s disappointment in the immigration bill. Politico did not include any quote from the Tea Party Express, even though that group took to Twitter to express its position, as well as providing a quote to Breitbart News.
It is unclear if or when Politico will correct or change its headline. Palmer, one of the Politico reporters who wrote the story, did not respond to a request from Breitbart News for comment.