By: E&P Staff
Its Tuesday front page headline announcing that John Kerry had picked Dick Gephardt as his running mate might be one of the most embarrassing newspaper gaffes of the year but at least no one at the New York Post will lose his or her job over it, if a report in this morning’s New York Times is true.
The Times alleges that, according to an anonymous Post employee, the Post-man who came up with the false tip and ordered it to the front page was none other that owner Rupert Murdoch. The employee said senior editors had warned that any leaker of this information to other news media would get fired.
According to this account, Murdoch called in his “exclusive” to the Post’s newsroom just after 10 p.m. on Monday. The front page story in the first edition about a fire was quickly replaced with the Gephardt bombshell.
Post spokesman Howard Rubenstein told the Times that the paper “stands by its flat denial that Rupert was the source of the story, nor did he order the story in,” explaining that this was the explanation given to him by Col Allan, the paper’s editor in chief.
Rubenstein said Murdoch did call the paper “from time to time to find out how things are going.” Asked if Murdoch telephoned anyone at the newspaper that night, Rubenstein said, “I don’t know.”
Murdoch, asked by CNBC about the episode on Tuesday, said: “Everybody made a mistake and they are embarrassed and they have apologized for it and it happens even on NBC sometimes.”