Accuracy in Media

Bloomberg Law officially retracted an article because of multiple inaccuracies, which alleged that a Department of Labor political appointee was anti-Semitic. The appointee, Leif Olson, resigned after the article was published despite his claims that Bloomberg Law took his sarcastic comments out of context.

Bloomberg Law said, “Bloomberg Law has retracted this article, published on Sept. 3. In reporting on a series of social media posts from Department of Labor official Leif Olson, we failed to meet our editorial standards for fairness and accuracy. We regret that lapse and apologize to our readers and to Mr. Olson.”

The article’s emphasis surrounded Olson’s Facebook posts, one of which referred to the 2016 Paul Ryan vs. Paul Nehlen Republican primary race in a Wisconsin congressional district. Nehlen has been accused of being an anti-Semite and lost the race to Paul Ryan. But, Olson’s Facebook post mocked Nehlen’s anti-Semitism and said that the Jewish media “protect their own.”

The Bloomberg Law reporter claimed, “This is the latest in a series of mishaps under the Trump administration personnel vetting system. What makes this one remarkable is that Olson’s Facebook page was public to his nonfriends. Any cursory screening of his social media accounts could’ve uncovered the anti-Semitism.”

However, context matters and it was ignored in this case.

Bloomberg Law published the article on September 3, according to the Washington Examiner, but it took them over a month to investigate and then retract the article. Between the publishing date and today, Bloomberg Law attempted to alleviate criticism by publishing an editor’s note, but the Washington Post’s media critic, Erik Wemple, said the editor’s note was still misleading.

Olson was reinstated to his position at the Department of Labor when the article’s inaccuracies were publicized.

It should not have taken over a month for Bloomberg Law to investigate and then retract the article, all while fitting in an editor’s note to try to relieve public pressure and criticism from their reporter and editors. It is yet another example of media bias and “fake news” that has become too commonplace in today’s mainstream media environment.

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