Edwards, Bloggers, and the 'Suspense' of Mysterious Press Conferences

Today's Edwards announcement is an object lesson in how easy it is for us in the blogosphere to run with something juicy without double-checking the facts and/or being very, very careful to precisely word our posts so that we don't tell readers to take something to the bank that hasn't been confirmed.

It's also a lesson in how to promptly and gracefully face the music and admit error.

Earlier today, Politico's Ben Smith ran with a single anonymous source today at shortly past 11:00 a.m. saying that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would suspend his presidential campaign so he could tend to his wife, Elizabeth, as she battles breast cancer.

That source turned out to be wrong. Edwards will continue his campaign and Smith promptly admitted and apologized for his error (his blog post was submited at 12:34 EDT, just after the Edwards announcement). [continued...]

Smith did the right thing by openly confessing his error and apologizing. Politico was wise to include a link to Smith's apology and explanation for his error.

On the other hand, I noticed a few blogs that linked to Smith's earlier erroneous news item on the Edwards campaign that have added an "update" but not a "correction" or apology for erroneous reporting in their original posts.

What responsibility do those blogs have to admit error, if any? Does the fact that they were linking to an outside source excuse their role in peddling what turned out to be a faulty story?

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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