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Fox News issues correction after book misreported Obama ‘PC meetings’

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  • Fox News on Wednesday published a book excerpt that reported Obama-era officials complaining about “doing nonstop PC [political correctness] meetings.” The squared brackets appeared in the original quote.
  • The problem is that “PC” stands for Principals Committee, a top-level National Security Council forum, not political correctness.
  • Multiple journalists laid into Fox News for the mistake after its publication, with one former National Security Council senior adviser tweeting: “I am dying.”
  • Doug Wead, the book’s author, has since confirmed that PC in fact stands for Principals Committee, and Fox News issued an editor’s note correcting the mistake.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fox News has issued an embarrassing correction after publishing a story claiming that President Barack Obama’s White House held regular “political correctness” meetings.

The right-leaning news network on Wednesday published an excerpt from an upcoming book on President Donald Trump’s administration. The excerpt cited an unnamed White House source as claiming that Obama-era CIA officials complained about having to spend “a lot of time in the White House doing nonstop PC [political correctness] meetings.”

The square brackets are from the original excerpt from the book, titled: “Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency,” by conservative writer Doug Wead.

The only problem is that “PC” actually stands for Principals Committee, a top-level interagency meeting convened by the National Security Council — not political correctness.

obama national security council situation room

Obama (right) with Vice President Joe Biden and Ambassador Susan Rice to his left at a National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room in September 2014.

Flickr / The White House


Fox News reporter Sam Dorman also appeared to understand “PC” as meaning “political correctness.” In the original version of his article, he wrote about claims that the Obama administration “micromanaged intelligence matters and was too concerned with political correctness.”

Multiple national-security journalists spotted the mistake shortly after the report’s publication. Loren DeJonge Schulman, a senior adviser to then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice, also tweeted: “I am dying. Principals Committee meetings, Fox. Not political correctness meetings!”

“PC meetings were often not at all PC,” she added.

obama national security

President Obama briefed by members of his national security team in the White House Situation Room in October 2010.
Pete Souza/The White House


Fox News has since amended its article to say that Wead’s book had misunderstood the meaning of “PC meetings,” and that Wead has since confirmed that his source had referred to “Principals Committee” meetings.

“An earlier version of this story accurately quoted the book as describing ‘PC’ as standing for ‘politically correct’ in characterizing certain Obama administration meetings,” Fox News’ editor note now says.

“The author has since informed Fox News this was due to a misunderstanding between him and his source and that the initials referred to ‘Principals Committee.'”

Prior to Wead’s confirmation, Fox News issued an editor’s note appearing to understand that “PC” may not stand for “political correctness” — despite the first version of the story not mentioning “Principals Committee” at all.

“The book that is the subject of this story is accurately quoted below in describing ‘PC’ as ‘politically correct’ in brackets,” that editor’s note said.

“Fox News is aware that ‘PC’ may instead stand for ‘Principals Committee’ and has reached out to the author for further explanation.”

Fox News

News headlines scroll above the Fox News studios in New York in August 2017.
AP


On Wednesday afternoon Dorman, the Fox News reporter, had insisted that that “PC” still stood for “political correctness” despite the widespread criticism.

He “wasn’t very nice about it,” tweeted Daily Mail Political Editor David Martosko, who had tweeted about the mistake earlier in the day. “Profanity in an unsolicited email is always unwelcome.”

Wead will not be able to correct the meaning of “PC” in time for his book’s release on November 26, however. The PR firm in charge of the book’s promotion said, according to The Daily Beast, that it “will be updated and corrected in the next printing.”

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