These are the kinds of things news editors have nightmares about having to do. The Boston Herald has issued a massive, high profile apology for its massive high-profile error in reporting that someone had recorded a videotape of the St Louis Rams walkthrough the day before Super Bowl XXXVI.
The alleged tape made Matt Walsh a household name for Pats fans, undermined the integrity of the Patriots organization, already tarnished by videotaping allegations, and coming as it did right before the Pats tried to maintain their undefeated record in this year’s Super Bowl, theoretically could have been a distraction for the team. (Although I doubt it – it was mainly a distraction for the media.)
Regardless, the Herald now acknowledges, after the NFL could find no such tape, that no one at the paper ever saw the tape or directly met anyone who had.
I give them credit for stepping up and giving their error acknowledgment a front page spot. In the competitive media marketplace, the pressure is there to go with stories that aren’t fully vetted. They did, and they got burned. But admitting the error is the best way to repair the damage. And they did a better job of that than Bill Belichick has.