Thanks, James Taranto (LA Times, too)

The drumbeat for accurate journalism goes on.

Since I thanked's Steve Waldman for his gentle Charlie Gibson smackdown, let me head a tick right of center and thank James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal for doing the same.

The bottom line: ABC News has not admitted its mistake, allowing this twisting of the doctrinal beliefs of millions of Christians to stand. I say "Christians" instead of "conservative Christians," because what Gov. Sarah Palin actually said is a statement about seeking God's will that would almost certainly fit into the theology of Sen. Barack Obama as well as it would, oh, Gov. Mike Huckabee. There are times when leaders can only pray that they are doing God's will.

Instead, the network is now editing around its own mistake to leave viewers with the same impression. See video here. As Taranto notes, the Associated Press has not issued a correction on its original error -- which may have been the spark that ignited all of this. Click here for the Divine Ms. MZ's original post on that.

As you would expect from a WWW-journalism pro, Taranto's piece has tons of links to source materials. I urge you to click here and head over there to read it for yourself. But here is some of what he had to say:

Palin was right. ... Although she had spoken the words Gibson attributed to her, his rendition of the quote was a dowdification. He took the words out of context to make a prayer that "the task is from God" appear to be an assertion that it is.

This misleading quotation might have been an error rather than a deliberate deception, and it did not originate with Gibson. ... ABC seems to have realized its mistake as well. The version of the interview that aired on ABC's "World News" last night ... edited out the lines in which Palin disputes the accuracy of Gibson's quote and Gibson replies, "Exact words." In their place is a YouTube clip of Palin speaking at the church. Again, as far as we know, ABC has not expressly acknowledged the error.

The journalists at AP, CNN and ABC who took liberties with Palin's quote might or might not have intended to deceive. But there can be little doubt that they intended to further a stereotype of Palin as some sort of religious nut. What's interesting is that in the course of doing so, they ended up disparaging her for praying.

So we need a correction from the Associated Press.

We need a correction from ABC News.

And, in the comments pages, we need comments on the journalism ethics of all of this. Clearly, some of the journalists involved simply do not understand the theology that is involved in this issue. They do not get why people are so upset about the twisting of these words.

So do not comment on what you think of Gov. Palin and do not bash the motives of the journalists either. I do not think the mistake was part of some conspiracy. Right now, many journalists are working on the ragged edge of emotions and, yes, some ignorance. We need corrections and we need them right now before the coverage veers even further into -- yes -- bad journalism.

UPDATE: Oh my. The Los Angeles Times got it right, too. Thank you, Michael Finnegan.

A video shows Palin asking a group to pray that the nation's leaders were sending troops to Iraq "on a task that is from God." Gibson, however, mischaracterized her as simply asserting that the nation's leaders were sending troops to Iraq on a task from God.

"Are we fighting a holy war?" he asked.

After Palin disputed his characterization, she paraphrased Abraham Lincoln, saying she meant, "Let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."

Please respect our Commenting Policy