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MSNBC website tags Republican ex-DC Madam client as a Democrat
Michael Roston
Published: Friday July 13, 2007
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The MSNBC website misidentified a Republican Senator from Louisiana on Friday as a Democrat. The erroneously captioned photo was posted with a news story about Senator David Vitter, who outed himself on Tuesday as a client of the so-called DC Madam, Deborah Palfrey.

"Sen. David Vitter, D-La., may not be Bill Clinton, but he may wish his wife was Hillary Clinton," reads the MSNBC caption.

A screen capture is presented below.

The photo accompanied a National Journal story by John Merucurio, which has a content-sharing arrangement with MSNBC. In his "PolitiScope" column, Mercurio discussed whether or not Vitter would receive the same kind of forgiveness that former President Bill Clinton was granted for his affair with former intern Monica Lewinsky. Notably, Mercurio did not identify Vitter in the story as a Democrat or Republican. The original story at the National Journal website, available only to subscribers, did not include a photo.

The original caption accompanying the AP photograph that MSNBC attached to the story rightfully identified Vitter as a Republican.

"Sen. David Vitter, R-La., speaks speaks at a news conference at the Port of New Orleans, in this Wednesday, March 30, 2005 file photo in New Orleans," the AP noted in the July 9 picture.

MSNBC is not the only news outlet to identify Vitter as a Democrat. A photo attached to an archive of stories about Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) at the Huffington Post calls Vitter a Democrat, although it appears possible that the photo was posted long before Vitter revealed that he had hired women from Palfrey's agency. A Huffington Post editor clarified to RAW STORY that this error was generated by a third party content source.

A Google search also shows that other sources have misidentified Vitter's party affiliation, including an April 2005 press release from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), as well as a July 2005 story from the newspaper The Hill.

(Note: Some time after publication on Friday night, the caption was corrected at MSNBC's site so that it now correctly identifies Vitter as a Republican)