CORRECTION: The information in our story about Rep. Paul Ryan was based on a HOAX. We apologize for disseminating incorrect information.
— The Capital Times (@CapTimes) February 25, 2012
The Madison Capital Times apologized Saturday after posting a story based on a prank press release about Rep. Paul Ryan and other Wisconsin Republicans pressuring the Smithsonian to remove posters from last year’s protests at the state Capitol from its archives. The Capital-Times reports:
The story was based on a news release that purportedly came from [Republican Rep. Steve] Nass’ office, but was in fact fabricated by Madison labor cartoonist Mike Konopacki. He has drawn editorial cartoons for The Capital Times for many years on a freelance basis and he sent the fake release to a staff member who then forwarded it to Associate Editor John Nichols, who wrote the story.
The Capital Times says Nichols started to have doubts about the story when sources said they hadn’t heard about the release. He told editors to hold the piece, but they had already posted it. The story was removed after being online for about 40 minutes.
In the release and Cap Times story, Ryan was quoted saying, “Look, you can’t be displaying and archiving art that celebrates protests that were heavily aimed at Republicans, and then expect that Republicans are going to smile nicely and sit down and try and work with the Smithsonian.”
Konopacki, who created his news release with Photoshop, “is apologetic about the confusion it created,” and that Capital Times “regrets its publication, even for a brief amount of time.”