How Richardson-to-replace-Clinton rumors started
Rumors of Bill Richardson replacing Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State exploded across the internet Monday and appear to have been started by a report from Examiner.com and have been falsely attributed to Washington Examiner — which is unrelated to Examiner.com — by Fox News, among other outlets.
The governor’s spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia told Steve Terrell at the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The Governor has no plans to leave New Mexico. He is looking forward to becoming a private citizen.”
The unsourced reports went mostly unnoticed throughout the weekend. Only a Christmas Day article on Korea Times mentioned the report. The only sourcing on this post was from Examiner.com.
The story became more widespread after Fox News mentioned it Monday. Fox News incorrectly sourced the story to Washington Examiner. As of this writing, Washington Examiner has not mentioned any story about Bill Richardson replacing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
The Washington Examiner reported Saturday that outgoing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson could succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Citing “numerous sources” saying Richardson may replace Clinton and wants a job in the Obama administration and Clinton may be interested in taking a break, the paper noted Richardson’s recent “unofficial” trip to Pyongyang to try to ease tensions between the North and South Korea.
While both The Washington Examiner and Examiner.com are owned by Philip Anschutz, they are editorially separate.
Locally, KOAT reported on the rumors, saying the “rumors cropped up on Korean media outlets, the Washington Examiner and Fox News.” KOAT included a denial from “Richardson’s staff.”
Mediaite noted that the Washington, D.C., Fox affiliate also reported on “several reports” of Richardson potentially replacing Clinton.
CNN’s Ed Henry reported Monday that there is “nothing to it.” And that “a senior administration official” said that it was “essentially being laughed off by the administration.”
It is another example of how unsourced reports can quickly go from the least reputable of sources to discussion on cable news and on the internet.