Politics

Fake News About Kavanaugh’s Prep School Led to Correction by Media Outlet

Publication couldn't avoid further edits after evidence revealed

The Washington Post was forced to issue a correction on Friday after an email chain that was made public proved a reporter had misrepresented the timing of a job posting at Brett Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Georgetown Prep, located in Bethesda, Maryland.

The article was published in The Post’s “reliable source” section, but it took the publication a full day to correct the error — and only after The Post “attempted to stealth edit it with an update that was even more misleading,” said Breitbart in its coverage of the incident.

Here’s the glib opening of the story by Emily Heil, which she represented as a “fun little” piece: “When graduates of your school are getting name-checked on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (oh, hey there P.J., Timmy and Squi!), it might be time to … um, reach out to them, maybe?”

It continued, “Seems Georgetown Prep thinks so: The elite Bethesda school, famously attended by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, is advertising for a director of alumni relations. According to the want ad, the Jesuit high school is looking for someone to take on the role of ‘identifying, engaging and cultivating alumni.’”

Heil’s piece then asserted that the contentious confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court resulted in Georgetown Prep’s being so tarnished that it decided to hire a “director of alumni relations” to resurrect its reputation with the school’s past graduates.

The original story reported that Georgetown Prep began advertising for the position “this week,” meaning the week beginning October 15 — giving readers the impression that consequences of the confirmation battle (and what the public was presented about the nominee’s “questionable” past) were so dire for the school that it needed to recraft its image immediately.

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“The elite Bethesda school, famously attended by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, posted a job listing this week for a director of public relations,” the original article said.

Prior to publishing, Heil did, in fact, reach out to the Bethesda preparatory school, and even asked if this particular “job had been posted before or after the Kavanaugh hearings.”

She sent the email on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and wrote, “I’m planning to write this today, so I’m hoping we can talk before 2 p.m. ish.”

Eight minutes later a reply came back from the school: “The job was posted in July 2018,” the email stated clearly, according to Breitbart,. meaning that the school was looking to hire a person in this role well before the contentious hearings began.

The Post published the story anyway, even though Heil centered her story around why — and when — the job was posted.

It is also unclear where The Post got the information the job had been advertised “this week” — meaning last week.

By Friday morning, Georgetown Prep was demanding a correction, “and sometime during all of this, The Post attempted to correct the piece,” reported Breitbart. The Post edited the original mistake and did not signal an update to readers.

Here’s the second version: “The elite Bethesda school, famously attended by Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, is advertising for a director of alumni relations.”

Related: Media Overwhelmingly ‘Rigged’ Against Kavanaugh, MRC Study Shows

Heil admitted she got the school’s email responding to her question and said she never read it, claiming she “read right over the date in haste.”

On Saturday October 20, she tweeted, “This was a completely unintentional error — I read right over the date in haste. Story was corrected and correction is noted. Have a great weekend, all!”

Only after the email from Georgetown Prep to The Post was made public did the publication correct its misleading story, noting, “Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Georgetown Prep posted a job listing this week for a director of alumni relations. The school began advertising for the position in July.”

See more about the rise of fake news in the video below.

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