On Wednesday, Us Weekly‘s website published an item (since deleted, though it’s alive in the magazine’s Google cache and a screenshot is available at GossipCop) about a Sarah Palin appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show, during which she criticized Christina Aguilera for flubbing the words to the national anthem. One problem: this never happened. Us was repurposing an item from a satirical website.
According to The Sean Hannity Show‘s website, Palin’s last appearance was on November 23, 2010–months before Aguilera’s performance. Us also printed some of the more ludicrous claims from the article, including the fictional Palin’s desire to “deport” Aguilera. While Us Weekly‘s publicist was unavailable for repeated requests for comment, a source familiar with the magazine’s editorial process told the Observer that while the magazine takes fact-checking seriously for its printed publication (though, as with any tabloids, errors do slip in), online stories go up too quickly for verification, a problem for a publication at which some fact-checkers do not hold writers and editors in high esteem.
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