Breitbart Learns the Hard Way That Boston.com Isn’t Always Reliable
A content-providing ‘partner’ to Boston.com has left the Boston Globe looking embarrassed after it published a false report that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had filed for personal bankruptcy.
The provider, “Prudent Investor,” over which the Boston Globe exerts no editorial control, picked up a story from a satire website called the Daily Current which claimed that Krugman, unwavering advocate for greater Keynesian stimulus that he is, was himself deep in debt. (Perhaps some eyebrows should have been raised when the original post said Krugman blew it all on “Portuguese wines and British dresses from the Victorian period, flattening his Black Amex card by $84,000 in one month.”) The post appeared on Boston.com and apparently duped a writer at the right-wing news site Breitbart, too. Both sites have now taken their posts off the web, and the Breitbart writer tweets that he “trusted Boston.com as the source for that Krugman piece, but they were duped by Daily Currant, therefore, so was I!” This is, of course, no excuse for Breitbart to run with a false story, but it does leave people wondering why the Boston Globe, which apparently even a Breitbart hack considered reliable, is renting their site out to shaky content. Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory, for one, doesn’t seem to have an answer. He tells Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple:
“We never knew it was there till we heard about it from outside.” Since the posting went up, McGrory attests to having done “urgent work to get it the hell down,” something that appears to have happened, though not as quickly as McGrory would have liked. “The idea that we’d have a partner on our site is actually news to me,” says McGrory, who vows to “address our relationship with that vendor.”
This isn’t the first time newly appointed editor McGrory has been upfront about the weird relationship between Boston.com and the newspaper, which reserves most of its content for the subscription-based BostonGlobe.com In an interview with Poynter last month he said:
The difference between BostonGlobe.com and Boston.com isn’t clear to “many people in this community and people in this newsroom,” Boston Globe Editor Brian McGrory told Poynter in a phone interview Friday. “That’s understandable,” he said.
So Job 1 is “to untangle them,” McGrory said, a task that “will involve some pretty strong maneuvers here. We’re going to start removing our in-depth Globe journalism from Boston.com, which is not a small move.”
Presumably this will also involve telling readers to read Boston.com with a grain of salt. Krugman, for his part, seems to be delighting in his role in all this.