Northern Michigan newspaper calls congressional candidate for comment, later realizes it was probably someone else

February 28, 2014
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This is Dan Benishek, not Jerry Cannon, OK?

This is Dan Benishek, not Jerry Cannon, OK? (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

We all make mistakes. Today, the Daily Mining Gazette says they made one hell of a goof.

The story began last month when the northern Michigan newspaper interviewed someone initially believed to be Democratic congressional candidate Jerry Cannon. Cannon, a retired Army Major General, is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek.

Apparently, the Gazette‘s reporter called Cannon for a follow-up question on Obamacare and a proposal to extend unemployment insurance. The person who answered told the Gazette: “I don’t like Obamacare. It’s been a disaster for me. I want to go back to the way it was before.”

The Gazette ran the quote, which struck the National Review as being awfully weird. The Review notes the blunt stance on Obamacare came just days after one Jerry Cannon said “the worst thing that could be done [to Obamacare] is say ‘let’s throw it all out.’”

Talking Points Memo notes Cannon’s campaign manager then reportedly called the Gazette over the quote. The next day, the paper issued a retraction and published a new story featuring a quote from Cannon with a positive spin on Obamacare, as well as a statement from the candidate’s spokesperson, who said the person speaking in the call was not Cannon.

Oops.

Yesterday, Gazette managing editor Mark Wilcox wrote in a story titled “Gazette looks to set the record straight” that the newspaper’s management believes their reporter undoubtedly spoke to someone who hates Obamacare — it just wasn’t Cannon.

For the past several weeks the Gazette has searched computer records of all phone calls made from the editorial offices on that day. The Gazette has found no record of a call placed to any number associated with the Cannon campaign.

The paper issued  a correction in today’s paper.