On Wednesday, Forbes.com contributor Eric Jackson wrote a controversial post comparing the media attention that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gets to that of former Marimba CEO Kim Polese 15 years ago. By Thursday morning, Jackson had deleted the post and written an apology.
The incident raises important questions about transparency and Forbes.com’s publishing process, in which freelance contributors can publish and delete posts without input from editors.
This is not the first time Forbes are caught “unpublishing” an embarrassing blog post. A hoax story posturing that Abraham Lincoln filed a patent for a Facebook equivalent (sic) in 1845 was reported as fact by many websites, amongst them Forbes. When the truth came out, some rushed to apologize, others to wash their hands in the most contorted ways known to man, while Forbes “unpublished” it, as if it had never happened.
This is apparently how Forbes does journalism. To reiterate a point, half of good journalism is to correct the error and do so as visibly as the original article, if not more.