“Sloppiness” led to NewsHour transcript misunderstanding, PBS ombudsman finds

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There is no evidence that PBS altered a transcript of President Obama’s recent speech to Congress to cover a “major gaffe by the president,” PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler writes. However, he adds that leaving the prepared remarks on the NewsHour website “from Thursday night until bloggers, and the ombudsman, shook their tree Saturday morning — long after the White House and the [New York] Times had published actual transcripts — was a serious lapse.” During the speech, Obama mistakenly said that Abraham Lincoln was the “founder” of the Republican party, but that statement was not in the original transcript supplied by the White House and posted by NewsHour.

“I think any fair-minded person, and I hope I’m one of them, would accept this as an unfortunate sequence of events, compounded by some carelessness and sloppiness by the NewsHour and PBS,” Getler says.