From one of our very best tipsters, RLW, comes a great little catch of which I’m not quite sure what to make. Quote #1:
The first quote comes from an AP article written by William C. Mann and entitled “Critic of Islam finds new home in U.S.” that moved on the wire at 2:05 a.m. The second is from an AP article by the same author with the same title that moved at 10:14 a.m. I compared the text of the first story to the text of the second side by side in MS Word and the two are completely identical except for the CAIR quote.
It’s possible that Mann collected both quotes from Hooper contemporaneously and changed from the first to the second unbidden, simply because he liked the second one better. Except … Hooper’s making the same point in each. He’s just being more politic about it in the second instance by dropping the word “hate.” You can imagine him saying during their interview, “You know what? I went too far. Let me rephrase that last comment” and then giving Mann the second quote — but if that’s what happened, why did the first quote appear in the story that moved at 2:05?
What we’re looking at here, I suspect (but obviously can’t prove), is Hooper having made the first comment during their interview, then gotten buyer’s remorse when he saw how shrill it looked in print. So he called up the AP hours after the fact and asked them to replace it with a more “nuanced” version — and the AP agreed to do so.
Which brings us to our exit questions. First, am I missing some other obvious explanation? And second, if not, is giving sources a do-over on quotes after a story’s been published standard practice in the industry? I’m asking in earnest. I honestly don’t know the answer.
Update: The AP’s Statement of News Values and Principles says, “For corrections on live, online stories, we overwrite the previous version. We send separate corrective stories online as warranted.” This isn’t a correction, though. Unless Mann mistranscribed it — which is exceedingly hard to believe — he’s simply replacing a harder quote with a softer one. Why?