ABC’s @JakeTapper Rebuts @ABCWorldNews Over False SCOTUS Nominee Tweet (UPDATED)

Wow. Looking for an example of how fast news flies and how journalists are one man operations these days? Look no further. Check out this fascinating exchange, on Twitter, between ABC News’ Jake Tapper and the ABC World News Twitter feed.

Just after 9:30 @ABCWorldNews twittered this: BREAKING: President Obama will name Elena Kagan his nominee for the Supreme Court, @jaketapper reports. As you will see, he did not, and the tweet has since been deleted.

It was picked up by one @lensmith22 who RT’d it.

Shortly thereafter Jake Tapper responded…on Twitter: “@ABCWorldNews no I dont.” And then apparently tried to do damage control: @demdailybrief NO I DONT- false report – please delete. And: @lensmith22 false report – I reported no such thing – pls delete.

Which elicited this quick response from @ABCWorldNews: Disregard Supreme Court tweet – Big mistake on our part here. A misunderstanding within the building. @lensmith22

And this: @ABCWorldNews Apologies to @jaketapper for pulling him into our big mistake… RT @jaketapper: @ABCWorldNews no I dont.

Yowzer. Not the kind of Twitter exchange you expect to see from a network news operation and their star Washington reporter. A couple of fascinating things here: one, how quickly news, and false news, can travel on Twitter…and then be rectified. But even more so, that Tapper took to Twitter to correct the story, and pushback against his own news organization. Meanwhile, it will be fascinating to see whether Elena Kagan actually is President Obama’s pick for SCOTUS and if @ABCNews just twitter-scooped their own reporter on breaking that.

UPDATE: We spoke to an ABC News spokesperson who explained what happened. Turns out ABC (and other networks, we are told) periodically conducts internal drills to prepare for breaking stories concerning major news figures (sort of like war games for journalists). That was what this was. Tapper, and others, were reporting a fictitious news event over an internal loudspeaker. The ‘report’ was preceded by DRILL DRILL DRILL FOR DRILL PURPOSES THIS IS NOT TRUE followed by the ‘story.’ Apparently, a DA whose responsibility it was to ‘cover’ this only heard the ‘report’ part and tweeted it thinking it was real. And then quickly realized it wasn’t and the tweet was deleted. But the internet being what it is, not before a whole lot of people, including us, saw it.

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