Good story, bad quote

GOOD STORY, BAD QUOTE….The LA Times ran a pretty good front-page story this week on Canadian gray wolves, which have made a comeback thanks to protection under the Endangered Species Act, and difficulties they face from hunters in western states.

In particular, the article quoted Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal declaring that the Endangered Species Act is no longer in force and that the state “now considers the wolf as a federal dog,” unworthy of protection. Unfortunately for the LAT, Freudenthal never said that.

A front-page story in Tuesday’s editions of the Los Angeles Times attributed a quote to Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal that was taken from a fake news release circulated as an April Fool’s joke earlier this year. […]

“The reporter saw it on the Internet and had talked with the governor in the past, so she was familiar enough with the way he talks and writes that she thought it sounded authentic, and she didn’t check, which she should have,” Times Deputy Metro Editor David Lauter told the Casper Star Tribune.

“We hate when this kind of thing happens, and we correct it as quickly as we can,” Lauter said.

The paper, of course, ran a correction and added it to the online version of the article.

I fell for a similar hoax last year, so I can relate to the reporter’s embarrassment. It’s probably best to be careful about too-good-to-be-true quotes we find online, isn’t it?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.