WatchBlog: A Retraction

By westvirginia on October 28, 2010
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There are many good things about what I do here at West Virginia Watchdog. One of the best things is having no oversight, no editors, no one to tell you that you can’t write about this or that.

One of the worst things? Having no oversight, no editors to read over your articles, not only for spelling and grammar issues, but for issues in stories that might come back to bite you.

The story I wrote in February about Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and funding from groups with alleged Hamas ties is one such story that, if I could turn back time, I probably wouldn’t have written.

To be clear I didn’t make anything up, but the information that I based that story on wasn’t as solid as I had thought it was. On top of that it’s a poorly-written story that, had an editor read it and quizzed me beforehand the way Factcheck.org did after the fact, probably would have been spiked. Sadly this happens from time to time for every journalist and every news outlet. You go with information you believe to be solid, only to be proven wrong. The only difference is I didn’t hide behind a retraction on page 12-B, but am writing you, the readers, direct.

There is no staff here at West Virginia Watchdog, just me. I’m a one-man shop, which means that I don’t have the safeguards that your newspaper reporter has. While I often poke at my newspaper brethren, the reporter/editor relationship is one that is very important. Having someone to check your work for inaccuracies and poorly-worded thoughts is vital to a good story. Despite not having such a system I do the best I can with the tools I am given.

However, to jump to the conclusion that I’m for Rahall’s opponent in the 3rd District congressional race, as at least one blog has done, is unfair. I have fairly covered both parties, and all candidates as evenly as I can. I have certainly had to pick races to cover – I can’t cover them all – but I have not picked favorites candidates nor do I have one.

I am not beyond making mistakes, but those who know me personally and have followed my work know me to be honest and fair. We’ve been particularly critical of 1st District Republican congressional candidate David McKinley and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), so lumping us into the pro-Republican category is a stretch.

It seems apparent that those with a dislike of this website will continue to harbor that dislike no matter what I do to change their minds. I no longer plan to try to change their minds. But I did feel the need to explain myself and apologize.

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2 Comments For This Post So Far

  1. Patrick Godbey
    12:46 am on October 29th, 2010

    Takes a big man to admit when they are wrong. Kudos.

  2. Anne Lieberman
    8:00 am on October 29th, 2010

    I don’t understand what you’re retracting — the facts, or just the fact that you wrote the story? And in the interest of full disclosure, you should probably tell your readers who exactly criticized or pressured you into this regret.

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