NPR has apologized for misreporting the number of State Department diplomatic cables actually released by WikiLeaks. Although WikiLeaks allegedly possesses 251,287, only 1,947 were available as of December 30, 20. Yet, prior to this date, NPR (on multiple occasions) reported that WikiLeaks had released “thousands” of documents, a mistake that San Francisco listener Henry Norr attempted to rectify.
Unfortunately, this mistake has not been restricted to just NPR. Matthew Schafer, a grad student at Louisiana State University, also mentions the Associated Press, the New York Times, Politico, UPI, The Economist, Mashable, BBC, the Washington Post, and Christian Science Monitor in his blog. (And the Youtube video above shows RT news, the Russian/English news channel, making the same blunder).
Although NPR has already made the appropriate corrections, other news sources have yet to do the same.
This problem is larger than a simple common mistake and raises another issue: the state of modern journalistic standards. Sadly, not all readers/listeners are like Henry Norr and Matthew Schafer, and many choose to avoid the corrections process altogether. Without widespread, accurate, and active audience participation, who should be held responsible for maintaining these standards when the profession of journalism appears to be going downhill?