December 17, 2007

Why Not Just Wait For It? (Update: Romney's Camp Says, Not Us)

NBC certainly isn't alone in this failing, but they're the ones wearing egg on their collective faces today. Instead of just waiting for Rep. Steve King to make his announcement about endorsing Fred Thompson in the Iowa caucuses, First Read reported that he would endorse Mitt Romney just minutes ahead of the endorsement:

And the endorsements keep coming... Congressman Steve King (R), one of Iowa's most strident critics of illegal immigration and a champion of the state's rural conservatives, has endorsed Romney. ...

*** UPDATE *** King just announced that he's supporting Thompson. Team Romney is in the back of the room looking bewildered. They were all here, leading all the press to conclude that it was an endorsement for Romney.

Give NBC credit for not burying its mistake. First Read appended the update to the original report, allowing everyone to see exactly what happened. Apparently, Team Romney made an incorrect assumption and passed it along to NBC. The news network is not the only one with egg on their faces this morning in Iowa.

Some stories lend themselves to scoops -- stories of an urgent and important nature. The King endorsement doesn't qualify as either. No disrespect to Rep. King, who appeared on my show not long ago, but a Congressional endorsement three weeks out from the caucuses doesn't qualify as terribly urgent or important to most news consumers. The reporting could have waited until after the announcement without endangering the Republic or a loss of credibility for NBC.

At one point, the major concern for news organizations involved getting the story right. That no longer applies even on stories of only moderate interest and no compelling time frame. And NBC is not the only organization who has allowed that thought process to weaken their credibility.

UPDATE: A source within Team Romney tells me that they never told NBC they had the endorsement. NBC may have assumed it from their presence at the event, but the egg remains completely on NBC's face.


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