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TIME Editor Defends Reporter of False Martin Luther King Bust Story

Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of TIME magazine, defended White House correspondent Zeke Miller after he falsely reported last week that the Martin Luther King, Jr. bust had been removed from the Oval Office after President Donald Trump moved in.

“No news organization ever wants to make an error, but we all have procedures for handling them when we do. Zeke moved quickly to correct the record, and we stand behind him for taking responsibility for the mistake,” Gibbs wrote Tuesday.

Miller had initially tweeted Friday evening that the MLK Jr. bust had been removed from the Oval Office. He also included the fake news in a TIME article that has since been corrected.

After realizing his mistake, Miller tweeted a correction and apologized for spreading the false report.

“He and our other reporters will continue to cover the new Administration thoroughly, fairly and fearlessly,” Gibbs wrote.

Admittedly, Miller’s initial story was not “thoroughly” or “fairly” reported.

According to Gibbs, Miller reported that the MLK Jr. bust was not in the Oval — even though he knew it was “unconfirmed information.”

“I did all I could to correct the record,” Miller said, according to Gibbs, “and I apologize to my colleagues, the president and anyone misinformed by my mistake.”

Miller said the MLK Jr. bust “was apparently obscured by a door and an agent earlier.”

Given all the attention placed on the purposeful proliferation of fake news, Miller could have simply not published that part of his story until he had confirmation of its accuracy. He was gracious and apologetic, but that sincerity came after he was called out for his false reporting.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer used Miller’s mistake as a warning to the media about the “danger of tweet first, check facts later.”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson

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