Dana Wessel's fake Obama quote reprinted without attribution in San Jose Mercury News
Wessel (right) reacts to a Sid Hartman question during Ricky Rubio's introductory press conference last year.
As a producer at 1500 ESPN, Dana Wessel mostly operates behind the scenes.
But he's a funny guy to follow on Twitter. In fact, he proved to be a little too funny this week for the San Jose Mercury News' Elliott Almond.
On Tuesday, Wessel, an avid soccer fan, offered up this tweet:
Obama to Landon Donovan: "You wanna take Air Force One to Mexico City? We can still make it. Just say the word."-- Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) March 26, 2013
Donovan won an MLS championship last year as a member of the L.A. Galaxy, and on Tuesday his team visited the White House. Wessel's joke referred to the fact that Donovan, citing fatigue, wasn't playing in that night's U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier in Mexico City -- though he still had time to get there if Obama gave him a lift.
While hunting for quotes for Twitter, the Mercury News' Almond came across Wessel's tweet. He then used it as the centerpiece to his subsequent news report without citing where the quote came from or bothering to verify it was real:
Wessel later clarified that the Obama quote was indeed not real:
I didn't think it needed to be said, but enough people asked. No, the President did not offer Air Force One for an athlete to go play a game-- Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) March 26, 2013
Meanwhile, an embittered Almond tried to poke a bit of fun at himself over the gaffe:
@lagalaxyinsider Thanks Adam. I have transcript now and have clarified. Some joke.-- Elliott Almond (@ElliottAlmond) March 26, 2013
Darn facts. MT @avicreditor: Let record show that Obama never said anything about Air Force One, Landon Donovan & Mexico City.Unfortunately.-- Elliott Almond (@ElliottAlmond) March 26, 2013
Bafflingly, the original Mercury News story, complete with the fake Obama quote, remained online for many hours before it was finally pulled yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, Almond's gaffe was covered in a Media Bistro blog post , but fittingly, they made a mess of it by referring to Dana as a woman and by quoting an off-the-record email Wessel sent them:
Guy writes a piece mocking another person's reporting and gets my gender wrong and uses an off the record quote. Solid work, bud.-- Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) March 27, 2013
The ironies, apparently, never cease -- the "guy" Wessel refers to is named Betsy Rothstein.
:::: UPDATE ::::
Regarding his "Solid work, bud" tweet, Wessel offered up this clarification:
@atrupar That tweet, like the tweet before it, was directed at the male editor who tweeted the story. But I get your point.-- Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) March 28, 2013
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