Minnesota Republicans were all a-Twitter Thursday at news that Sen. Al Franken had invited Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to be his guest at Wednesday’s State of the Union address — an evil quid-pro-quo for Franken winning the recount Ritchie oversaw. As GOP Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb tweeted:
As it turns out, the source — D.C.-based POLITICO — had the story wrong. Its original report stated:
Franni Franken, wife of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), confirms to POLITICO that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is her husband’s guest tonight.
Later, this was changed to:
Franni Franken, wife of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), confirms to POLITICO that she was her husband’s guest tonight.
No mention that the original item was wrong, and a graphic at the bottom of the story still made the Ritchie-Franken connection. However, after I contacted POLITICO to ask what was up, it changed to this:
Franni Franken, wife of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), confirms to POLITICO that she was her husband’s guest tonight. Update: It appears that Franni Franken gave her up highly-coveted aisle seat to a very grateful wounded veteran.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was the senator’s SOTU guest.
A small victory in the war for accountability.
Ritchie, by the way, confirms he was not at the State of the Union speech. So how did POLITICO get it so wrong? Here’s staffer Katherine Lehr’s explanation:
We received an anonymous tip re: Ritchie and due to a communication breakdown, this was incorrectly reported. I thought the error had been removed from all story references on the site. We are issuing a correction in the story the item appears. Apologies for the confusion. Please let me know if you have any other questions/concerns.
Yikes — from an anonymous tip right to the page, mis-sourced, with a stealth correction on top of it. Not cool POLITICO.
As of 2 p.m., three hours after his initial tweet, Brodkorb had not issued his own correction, though his former website, Minnesota Democrats Exposed, did augment the record.
[Update: Here’s Brodkorb’s blame-the-messenger response, noting “sadly it wouldn’t have surprised me” if the completely fictional story had been true. Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me Michael refuses to accept his share of responsibility and fall on his attack sword.]
By the way, even if the story had been true, the “controversy” would still qualify has horse manure. Nonpartisan observers have widely praised the recount, and Ritchie’s conduct of it, as fair, so there was nothing to “pay back.” One DFLer entertaining another DFLer is not a scandal, except among hyperpartisans looking for any bright, shiny object to distract.