Baltimore Sun hasn’t corrected Jack Mehoff story

Jack Mehoff 3

The above screen capture is from a search of for story corrections. The search result indicates it’s the Corrections and Clarifications page at The Baltimore Sun has apparently decided it no longer has a need for a page detailing corrections. They apparently don’t even see the need for correcting a story in which they quoted someone named “Jack Mehoff” this week.

That would match the philosophy they are following in their non-response to the Ian Duncan story in The Baltimore Sun Thursday quoting someone named “Jack Mehoff” at a Donald Trump event on the Eastern Shore.

As of 11 a.m. today, the original Ian Duncan story filed online at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday night still contains this line:

Jack Mehoff, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”

When I originally wrote about this yesterday morning, I expected a correction or update of some sort, perhaps with an editor’s note. Maybe I should’ve known better, but my expectations for The Sun to do the right thing were apparently too high.

Here’s a tweet from yesterday showing that the story appeared in the print edition:

The newspaper made one response via Twitter, telling the person who made the above tweet:

Editors are looking into this. Thanks for pointing it out.

I’m not sure what is taking them so long, unless they’re just stalling and hoping people forget about it.

Baltimore Sun embarrased by Jack Mehoff story

Even though they seem to be ignoring the issue and hoping it goes down the memory hole, it has already gotten the newspaper plenty of unwanted attention.

Erik Wemple of The Washington Post wrote the following about it:

Contacted about this dicey name, Duncan declined to comment and instead pointed the Erik Wemple Blog to his Twitter account:

Wemple and media critic Jim Romenesko noted that there were anywhere from 1-3 phone listings for people named Jack Mehoff in Maryland. However, that is meaningless. I know people who have given fake names for phone listings going back 20 years because phone companies have traditionally charged for having an unlisted number, but don’t if you give an alias.

They should have checked other databases, like the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. I discovered searching for the last name of Mehoff there that one person, a Jackson Five Mehoff born in 1985, was charged with disturbing the peace in Upper Marlboro in 2010. The charges were nolle prossed a few weeks later. I suspect the charges were dropped when officials figured out it was a fake name. There was no known address for this suspect, only a date of birth and physical description.

In other words, there’s only one person, who would be 31 now, with the right last name showing up in all of the civil and criminal case information online in Maryland.

Mediaite also wrote about it:

To the delight of fifth-graders everywhere, The Baltimore Sun has set the internet on fire by publishing a report on a Donald Trump rally in Maryland that featured a quote from a Trump supporter with a, shall we say, extremely suspect moniker

Noted hack Tommy Christopher defends Ian Duncan in the Mediaite piece, by saying among other things:

The best part is that the name and the quote remain in the story, because unless he can track down that supporter, as Duncan points out, there’s really nothing to correct

The above Christopher comment is referring to Duncan’s tweet that says

At this point I have no way to prove I didn’t meet a real life Jack Mehoff who is a Trump supporter. But erm… Yeah.

Way to read something into it that isn’t there, Tommy.

In the past, Christopher has been regularly embroiled in controversy for saying dumb things – like his statement that the NSA scandal is a “white people problem.”  Christopher has been fired from Mediaite at least once and later returned.

If the best defense that The Baltimore Sun and Ian Duncan have going for them is the above one from Tommy Christopher, it shows they’ve failed.

Jack Mehoff and the Lack of Transparency at the Baltimore Sun

The fact that The Baltimore Sun published the story in the print edition and still has it uncorrected online shows systemic problems at the paper.

If Ian Duncan had been the only one to fall for the apparent prank, it would’ve only reflected on him in a bad way.

For it to get past the fact checking of an editor possibly shows a rush to get the story published that outweighed a concern for the truth.

I’d like to know if any editor actually questioned Duncan about the Jack Mehoff name Wednesday night as he filed his story.

After the breakdown that led to the quote being included, it doesn’t seem like Duncan really cares that much about it. His tweets on the matter seem pretty apathetic, rather than defensive/accurate like Tommy Christopher asserts.

The fact that what had been a page on the Sun website to list clarifications and corrections is now gone shows all you need to know about the Sun and transparency.

I tried to reach Mike Hunt, Mike Rotch, and Amanda Huginkiss for their comment on this matter but they were unavailable.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton