Several media outlets on Friday were forced to walk back articles announcing a definite presidential run by Mitt Romney for 2016.
The spark began with Bloomberg News, which published a scoop early Friday morning by Mark Halperin reporting that Romney would declare his intentions about whether to run. That of course turned out to be accurate.
But then the trouble began.
A brief, unbylined article by Bloomberg News followed with the headline “Romney To Formally Announce Third Run For Presidency,” which contained a lede and a short paragraph linking to the original article by Halperin.
However, by about 9:30 a.m. ET the article’s headline had changed, sourcing the report that Romney was running to The Daily Beast.
Twitter user @nycsouthpaw cataloged the Bloomberg switch:
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) January 30, 2015
The Beast had its own issues with the story, initially reporting that Romney 2016 was a go: “Mitt Romney Is Running For President.” The site reported that sources confirmed that Romney would announce a third run at the White House.
But by the time conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt came out with the scoop at about 10:30 a.m. ET that Romney was in fact counting himself out for 2016, both the Bloomberg and Beast posts were being passed around social media in a swirl of confusion.
The Beast headline simply flipped to “Mitt Romney Will Not Run For President.”
“That’s contrary an earlier report published in The Daily Beast,” the post read, “which relied on multiple sources close to Romney indicating that the former Massachusetts governor was about to launch a third campaign for the White House.”
Beast editor Noah Shachtman took to Twitter to issue a mea culpa. He responded to several people who asked what had happened. TPM reached out to Shachtman for further comment but did not receive an immediate response.
“Simple: We had what we thought were strong sources saying Romney was in. They were wrong,” he tweeted. “But it’s on us.”
Here’s the original Daily Beast post, since updated:
The Bloomberg post reporting a positive Romney run was still online as of Friday afternoon.
The conservative National Review Online got in on the backpeddling, taking down its report that Stuart Stevens would be serving as campaign manger for Romney 2016. (NRO’s slip up didn’t stop its contributor Charles C.W. Cooke. from needling the Beast.)
Meanwhle, Business Insider sent out conflicting tweets at the exact same minute, one stating “why Mitt Romney is going to run,” another announcing that Romney was definitely staying out of the race.
Politics editor Hunter Walker addressed the tweets in an email to TPM.
“This was an errant tweet that I accidentally sent out,” Walker said. “At no point did we report Romney was going to announce a decision to run today.”
The first tweet was promoting a post from earlier that morning, which highlighted Halperin’s initial report about the impending announcement, Walker said.
The linked piece did not report that Romney had decided to run.
Business Insider quickly amended the text and sent out the tweet again.
— James Anthony (@jimxant) January 30, 2015
This post has been updated.