Reuters is still kicking itself over an article about Republican golden boy Senator Marco Rubio that yielded five corrections yesterday and may have warranted more.
One senior staffer at Reuters described the episode to me as a "fiasco," another as a "disgrace."
It was so bad, in fact, that the editors and writer involved have been asked not to talk about it. (I reached out to editors David Lindsey and Eric Walsh, but have not heard back.)
The article, by David Adams, had intended to detail why Rubio was an unlikely pick for Vice President: "Rubio may not be as coveted as Gingrich or Romney would have it appear as they press for votes in Florida, where more than 450,000 Hispanics identify themselves as Republicans," Reuters David Adams wrote. "Despite his reputation as a watchdog over federal spending, Rubio, 40, has had significant financial problems that could keep him from passing any vetting process as a potential vice presidential choice, Republican and Democratic strategists say."
But after pressure from the Rubio staff, Reuters was forced to issue corrections that quickly became a larger talking point than the article itself.
Rubio's staff reached out to the editors and the writer early yesterday, prompting Reuters to issue two corrections. But the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis, who spoke with Rubio's staff as well, wrote an item suggesting that there were at least seven errors:
At some point malpractice slides into actual malice. I would think that beyond three "errors" in a single article has gone way beyond that point. And to be honest, these don't look much like errors; it looks more like they were willing to assert facts not in evidence in hope that they wouldn't be checked.1. “Rubio also voted against Sonia Sotomayor, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee who is of Puerto Rican descent…”
(Rubio wasn’t even in the senate then.)
2. “He soon had [his house] appraised for $735,000 and took out a second mortgage for $135,000.”
(Rubio did not take out a second mortgage. He took out a home equity line, which is a line of credit secured by the value of the home.)
3. “In 2008, despite earning a declared $400,000 – including his $300,000 salary from the Miami law firm Broad and Cassel – Rubio failed to make a payment on his home for several months”
(Rubio never failed to make payments on his mortgage on his home. He did miss a payment on a second house that he co-owns in Tallahassee because of miscommunication with the bank and the other owner; but it was remedied immediately and was not caused by any financial problems.)
4. “During the same period he did not make payments on a $100,000-plus student loan from his days at the University of Miami, the disclosures said.”
(As far as I can tell, this is simply untrue. He has never missed a payment on his student loans.)
5. “He frequently had used his party credit card for personal use, and later reimbursed the party for about $16,000.”
(Rubio paid American Express directly. The party never paid any expenses, and therefore there was no need to reimburse them.)
6. “Before joining the Senate last year, he was caught up in an Internal Revenue Service investigation of the Florida Republican Party’s use of party-issued credit cards.”
(Rubio’s office tells me they have never been contacted about an IRS investigation.)
7 “Rubio owes far more on his $384,000 Miami home than it is worth, and at times has had difficulty paying his mortgage”
(Senator Rubio has never missed a payment on his Miami home.)
Reuters has now issued 5 corrections but no apologies...