Complaints arrived swiftly following the recent live coverage of Gov. Mitt Romney's VP announcement. Marc Schumacher (no relation but nice name) from Three Rivers, MI, wrote:
Romney introduced Ryan by saying: '...the next President of the United States...' yet at the end of the coverage, someone dubbed in 'vice-president' as a correction. This "correction" was made continuously throughout the day. I have been a member continuously for 30 years. I currently am a member of two stations. Unless you can provide an adequate explanation as to why NPR made this fabricated correction, I will never give another dollar - ever.
Well, there is a satisfactory explanation, and it lies in listening to the full tape of Romney's introduction, as Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving explains:
[Romney] said it both ways. And he made a point of correcting himself. We noted this on the air at the time it happened (live coverage had the exact language both ways).
If in a later usage we used the one where he got it right, that only makes sense, as he himself acknowledged the error on stage in the same event. Had he never done so, one could make a case for using the erroneous version. Under the circumstances, and given the number of times it was reported that he had erred and corrected himself, it would seem odd to use only the error.
NPR's policy is not to edit, clean up or splice the quotes of presidential candidates, which it does do for more common Joes and Janes who are interviewed.
If you're still in doubt, I encourage you to listen to the live coverage again or read the full transcript. What you will find is that Romney in fact got it right the first time he mentioned Ryan's name as his pick:
ROMNEY: Thank you so very much. It's great to be back in Virginia and here in Norfolk. Your city's beauty is matched only by its proud heritage as a defender of freedom. Thank you, Virginia, thank you, Norfolk. Today, we take another step forward in helping restore the promise of America as we move forward in this campaign and on to help lead the nation to better days.
It's an honor to announce my running mate and the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan.
The error came when he later called Ryan on to the stage.
Lori Grisham contributed to this report.