Saturday, June 15, 2013

Washington Post Quietly Revises Story on Obama's Africa Boondoggle

Washington Post Quietly Revises Story on Obama's Africa Trip

Friday, June 14, 2013 03:59 PM

By: Todd Beamon

The Washington Post on Friday revised a story about President Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Africa -- without telling readers about the change.

The revision marks the second time in as many weeks that a major news organization has changed a story about Obama without noting it to readers.

Last week, The New York Times revised a sentence in a scathing editorial blasting the administration for collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers.

The initial sentence in the editorial, published late in the afternoon on June 6, said the White House had "now lost all credibility" in light of reports that the National Security Agency has been gathering phone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order issued in April.

But by 9 p.m., the editorial had been updated to say, "The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue," a much softer tone than previously published.

The Times gave no indication of the change to readers, and the following day denied softening its stance toward the White House.

The change in the Post's story on the Africa trip was first reported on Friday by Politico.

In its initial story, published on Thursday, the Post said:

"The president and first lady had also planned to take a Tanzanian safari as part of the trip, which would have required the president’s special counter-assault team to carry sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat, according to the planning document. But the White House canceled the safari on Wednesday following inquiries from The Washington Post about the trip's purpose and expense, according to a person familiar with the decision."

But the Friday version of the report, both in print and online, did not say that the White House canceled the trip after the Post's inquiries.

Instead, the story now reads that officials said the safari had been canceled in favor of a trip to Robben Island in South Africa.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island.

"When The Post first asked White House officials about the safari last week, they said no final decision had been made," the Friday story reads. "A White House official said Thursday that the cancellation was not related to The Post's inquiries."

The Post did not note the change to readers, and the newspaper did not respond to requests seeking comment from Politico.


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