Journalist apologises for mistaken report

Press Secretary Sean Spicer arrives at a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC on Jan 22, 2017.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer arrives at a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC on Jan 22, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • A Time magazine journalist was lambasted for reporting incorrectly last Friday that a bust of late civil rights leader Martin Luther King had been removed from the Oval Office.

The reporter, Mr Zeke Miller, quickly corrected his report on realising his mistake and apologised on Twitter and to news organisations receiving White House pool reports.

"Correction: The MLK bust is still in the Oval Office. It was obscured by an agent and door," he tweeted.

He also sent a tweet to White House spokesman Sean Spicer to apologise. "This is on me, not my colleagues. I've been doing everything I can to fix my error. My apologies," he wrote.

Mr Spicer retweeted the apology last Friday evening and said "apology accepted" on Twitter, but also chastised the reporter, calling the incident "a reminder of the media danger of tweet first check facts later".

Mr Miller did not escape the wrath of President Donald Trump, already angry at media coverage of his inauguration. Mr Trump used time in his speech at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters last Saturday to call out the reporter by name and describe him as "dishonest".

Mr Spicer again criticised Mr Miller last Saturday, calling the report on the bust "egregious" and "irresponsible and reckless".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2017, with the headline 'Journalist apologises for mistaken report'. Print Edition | Subscribe