USA Today Regrets Fenty Search Error

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com

    At about 10 p.m., before any results in the D.C. mayor's race had been made public, Twitter started buzzing about Google search results for "DC mayor."

    If you typed that into your Google machine, the first result on the page showed what appeared to be a link to a USA Today story titled "DC mayor dumped by Democrats" with a summary that says that Fenty "lost his re-election ..."

    Bizarre, considering that no results were in yet. If you clicked on the link, it went to a USA Today politics blog, but that had no mention of Fenty's "loss."

    Here's a screenshot of the page.

    Word must have made its way back to USA Today quickly, because by 10:34 p.m. the website added another post to its blog basically saying, "Oops."

    From the blog post:

    "The District of Columbia mayoral race remains undecided at this hour. USA TODAY inadvertently posted some copy earlier that indicated otherwise. ... Because of deadline constraints, news organizations frequently prepare copy in advance for publication as results are called. Some of this material inadvertently was posted to our website this evening. The material was on our website for only a few moments, but some search engines have picked up erroneous information. This blogger regrets the error."

    Everyone with a sense of how Google's engine works figured as much already, but it's good to see USA Today come out with an explainer. Transparency in politics... it actually CAN happen.