On the surface, such an error sounds minor. And errors happen to all journalists for all kinds of reasons and must be forgiven. But after Taibbi forgave himself, his explanation for the mistake still telegraphed that he didn't really know the players he was writing about. And he used his apology to warn his readers about Obama "apologists" coming out of the woodwork who would call him "an irresponsible conspiracy theorist, factually sloppy, and so on."
This week on true/slant I wrote rather critically about Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone article titled "Obama's Big Sellout: The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway." When the American Prospect's Tim Fernholz called Taibbi out on an error in the piece, Taibbi dismissed it as an unimportant biographical bit that got altered in a "late-stage mixup at press time." (He was writing about Robert Rubin's son Jamie but identified him as another Jamie Rubin, a State Department diplomat.)