CultureMap Makes a Gaffe, Doesn't Think It's a Gaffe, But Quietly Changes Story

The joke wasn't even that funny.

New York celebrity chef David Chang, hearing that Jeremy Lin would likely come to Houston to play for the Rockets, at least for three years, tweeted yesterday, "@momofuku is looking to sign a three year lease in Houston, Texas."

As Eater National reported today, the chef, a "big Lin fan," has no plans to open a restaurant here.

But as Eater Houston recounted, the tongue-in-cheek tweet started some real excitement among Houston's foodies, with Bobby Heugel, David Buehrer and other local figures chiming in on Twitter. They'd been had, but no big deal. There's no shame in wishful thinking.

As it turns out, they weren't the only ones who were fooled.

At 11:27 a.m. today, CultureMap published a story on Chang looking to sign a lease in town. Author Sarah Rufca reflected that Midtown would be a great spot for the chef to consider. Commenter "Ekhilton" wrote, "Absolutely stoked! How about the newly-vacated spot at West Ave (RIP, Ava!!!)"

But it seems at some point today, the story was quietly changed. "Chang -- a fanatical backer of Jeremy Lin, who appears to be on the verge of ending up in Houston himself (for three years) -- could just be having fun with everybody," the story now reads.

Commenter "guest" wrote, "No mention that this story was a revision of your previous article??"

Those were our thoughts exactly this afternoon. There was no update, no note simply stating, "We've been had." To be clear, the issue wasn't that CM didn't recognize a silly joke -- it was that they didn't admit it. It had to make you wonder whether this has happened in the past.

We called CultureMap to find out what was up, but they haven't called us back yet. They did respond to "guest" right before we posted this entry, several hours after the story had been changed. CultureMap Managing Editor Chris Baldwin's response:

We put additional information into any story as it becomes available to give readers the fullest picture possible. When the Jeremy Lin connection became clear, it was added as it worked in the story.

There was nothing factually wrong in Sarah's piece when it posted. David Chang did tweet about looking into Houston. Some say it's a joke. Chang himself hasn't tweeted that it's a joke or commented on it.

We'll let the readers decide.

Some blogs cross out lines if they make changes in a post. That's never been CultureMap's approach as a news organization. It's about presenting the most useful story as the information is available.

If there is a mistake, a misspelled word, an incorrect title, etc, and a reader points that out, we'll make that change as well without any crossed out lines. And thank them for it in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

- Chris

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Cathy Matusow
Contact: Cathy Matusow