Salt Lake Tribune’s disingenuous excuse for fact-challenged ‘Glenn Beck’s Nazi exhibit’ op-ed

As Twitchy reported earlier, the Salt Lake Tribune ran an op-ed piece by Alexandra Karl with both title (“Glenn Beck’s Nazi exhibit”) and content that falsely suggested that Glenn Beck’s “Independence Through History” exhibition was a pro-Nazi display.

After being called on its journalistic malpractice, the newspaper’s deputy editor, Tim Fitzpatrick, then tried to clarify:

Fitzpatrick claims to work to separate news from opinion, which is a loud shout of “squirrel!” What we’re talking about here is the paper publishing  a vicious, baseless smear then washing its hands of responsibility because it’s “commentary.” Someone at the Salt Lake Tribune decided this particular “reader submission,” of the many the Salt Lake Tribune presumably receives, deserved publication. Now that they’re being called on it they’re hiding behind the “don’t look at us, it’s somebody else’s opinion” curtain. The short version is this: There’s no way that ridiculous commentary would have passed muster and been given that title if somebody at the Salt Lake Tribune didn’t loathe Glenn Beck and let it bleed through to his or her job.

Sure, the entire premise of the op-ed piece was absurd. But let’s look at the bright side:  Karl’s commentary contained only “a couple of small factual errors“:

Karl’s piece did have a couple of small factual errors that were corrected online and in a print correction. (It originally called the show “Man on the Moon” and said it was at Rio Tinto stadium, not USANA.) But otherwise questions about the piece are in the realm of opinion, although admittedly a provocative one.

Editorial writer George Pyle has been fielding calls and letters all week from angry Beck fans, and he said outside of the two corrections no one has pointed out factual errors in Karl’s piece.

Stu Burguiere, executive producer of the Glenn Beck program, helpfully identified a few other errors that have yet to be corrected:

Claudia Bogumil, who was at the exhibition, penned a letter to the editor defending Beck’s exhibit. The headline the Salt Lake Tribune ran above Bogumil’s letter: “Uninformed opinion.” Who, exactly, chose that headline?

Ouch.

We understand the need to edit for space, too, but the paper’s editors might want to figure out a way to keep their opinions out of other peoples’ opinions.

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