Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ABC network apologizes to the White House after its employees leak private Obama conversation

I wish mainstream media would focus on the issues. How is the U.S. President's private conversation, where he calls rapper Kanye West a jackass, a real news story? The ABC employees who leaked this non-story should be fired. Are there no standards in journalism anymore? Some say that this will add to the debate about journalism standards in the Twitter age. I say the ABC employees put the 'twit' into twitter.

AP reports:

ABC News says it was wrong for its employees to tweet that Obama had called Kanye West a "jackass" for the rapper's treatment of country singer Taylor Swift. The network said some of its employees had overheard a conversation between the president and CNBC's John Harwood and didn't realize it was considered off the record. E-mails shot around among ABC employees about Obama's comments, said Jeffrey Schneider, ABC News spokesman. Before anything was reported on ABC's air or Web site, at least three network employees took to Twitter to spread the news.

CNBC's John Harwood had sat down with the president to tape an interview following his appearance on Wall Street on Monday. Although they are competitors, CNBC and ABC share a fiber optic line to save money, and this enabled some ABC employees to listen in on the interview as it was being taped for later use. Their attention was drawn to chatter about West, who was widely criticized for interrupting Taylor Swift as she accepted an award at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards to say that Beyonce deserved it.

During what sounds like informal banter before the interview begins, Obama is asked whether his daughters were annoyed by West's hijacking of Swift's acceptance statement, according to an audio copy that was posted on TMZ.com.

"I thought that was really inappropriate," Obama says. "What are you butting in (for)? ... The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She's getting her award. What's he doing up there?"

A questioner chimes in, "Why would he do it?"

"He's a jackass," Obama replies, which is met with laughter from several people.

The president seems to quickly realize he may have gone too far, and jovially appeals to those assembled that the remark be kept private.

"Come on guys," he says. "Cut the president some slack. I've got a lot of other stuff on my plate."

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