The Union publisher ran a correction in his column this Friday about misquoting Nevada City council woman Reinette Senum, but he sidestepped the newspaper’s responsibility for the fake news. No apology, either.
Publisher Don Rogers wrote: “Correction: In last week’s column, I included a local politician’s claims about the Keystone protest as reported in November. I didn’t realize she had corrected one about a water cannon blowing off a protester’s arm to say later it was a concussion grenade. A grand jury is investigating whether it was a device used by law enforcement or a homemade explosive made by protesters. The injured protester has not lost her arm.”
“She had corrected” … “to say later.” Huh? The Union reporter misquoted Senum. “I was witness to her call to the Union and the call/email corrections,” added Jennifer Robin on Facebook, where the issue was aired.
The background is here:
On December 2, in a front page article in The Union titled “Nevada County residents stand with Standing Rock,” the newspaper misquoted local Senum in egregious fashion. The Union quoted her as saying “They blew a woman’s arm off with a water cannon,” when she said it was a “concussion grenade.”
When the misquote first appeared, Senum wrote to The Union reporter pointing out the error in the original December 2 report — along with other mistakes. She said in an email to the reporter: “The water protector lost her arm by a concussion grenade, not a water canon. … I was pulled over 2 miles from the South Dakota border not 2 miles from Standing Rock. I have not witnessed SR growing from 1,000 to 8.000. I have only been here for a week. I believe the number is around 6,000 and it fluctuates. I did not secure the rental car. It was already secured. Never said protestor camps. They are water protectors standing in prayer and in ceremony. Could u please correct this online?”
The newspaper still owes Senum an apology — and it owes the community an explanation of how such egregious errors could be made.
The Union columnist George Boardman also parroted the “fake news” on his blog. He “unpublished” the post, although more than two months had passed since it ran. The article has been indexed by Google.
“After the original story was published, Senum informed the reporter that she said the woman was injured by a concussion grenade, not a water cannon, and cited several other errors in the reporting of the story,” Boardman wrote. “Based on The Union’s original reporting, I criticized Senum for lying about the incident in an effort to advance her political agenda. I apologize for my erroneous criticism.”