Baltimore Sun finally corrects Jack Mehoff story

Jack Mehoff Story

As I wrote before, The Baltimore Sun published a story quoting “Jack Mehoff” after reporter Ian Duncan fell hook, line, and sinker when interviewing a Donald Trump supporter at an event Wednesday night on the Eastern Shore. The Jack Mehoff story was published online at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday and remained untouched until midday today.

Today at 12:55 p.m., Duncan made the following tweet:

The Sun retweeted it shortly thereafter. I asked both Duncan and the Sun via Twitter if correction notice would be added to tomorrow’s print edition of the paper. So far, I have received no reply from either.

I received a response after this piece was posted via The Sun on Twitter:

If you look at the story you’ll see the line the original error was in changed just the last name from Mehoff to Morris:

Jack Mehoff Story

Here’s the text:

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

There was also a correction notice at the bottom of the story:

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

Here’s a screen capture:

Jack Morris - Pull

The time stamp at the top of the story still shows 10:44 p.m. on April 20.

How The Sun Screwed Up – Then fixed the Jack Mehoff Story

The prank was totally missed by the reporter Ian Duncan it seems. I noted yesterday his tweet following the attention the story got indicated he was totally fooled and maybe even that he didn’t care. Ultimately the fact that it appeared in the print edition, went viral online, and ended up being corrected is above his pay grade.

At least one editor let it slip through. As I asked on Twitter, did any editor even ask a question about the name?

Since then, there have been attempts to defend the fact that the name could have been real, citing phone listings. I noticed the phone listing research was flawed and showed what I found when I researched state judicial records (both civil and criminal.)

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite flat out said there would be no correction, based on his misreading of the Duncan tweet on Thursday.

I will be checking now to see if a correction appears in tomorrow’s print edition, assuming I get no reply to my queries with Duncan and The Sun.

I also wonder how they tracked down Jack Morris. I assume they verified his identity by requiring him to produce his driver’s license, passport, or another method of identification. If not, they should have after being burned once already. If they didn’t already have protocols in place for this kind of thing, I’d hope they learned from it this week enough to develop them.

The Sun’s former corrections and clarifications page on their site still shows their committment to transparency with a 404 Not Found error.

Multiple people were to blame including the reporter and his editor(s). I’m not sure how the process unfolded on their end, but it took them from 10:44 p.m. Wednesday until midday Friday to get it fixed. I’m not sure that is a short or a long period of time because they’ve been so silent on the issue. It’d be nice if they actually talked about how it happened and how they’re making sure it doesn’t happen again.

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