As Tulsa readers will recall, Bates used his January 15-21 column in Urban Tulsa Weekly to question the World's circulation figures.
So far so good—unless Bates got the facts wrong, which was exactly the claim made in the World's subsequent libel suit against UTW and Bates.
UTW quickly folded, issuing a retraction in its very next issue.
Good news for UTW, not so good for Bates, who remained a defendant in what appeared to be a losing legal position.
That position was confirmed this week when the case was settled and Bates admitted to "numerous errors" and issued a letter, available on the World website, making "the following corrections, clarifications and/or retractions."
Here are some selected highlights of the Bates correction letter dated February 10, 2009:
My column suggests that the Tulsa World was not audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for nearly a decade. This is false.This is quite a retraction. Careful readers will recall that news of the World's libel suit provoked howls of outrage among a segment of the Tulsa blogosphere.
My suggestion that they withdrew from ABC for any nefarious reason is unfounded. I have no knowledge or information regarding the reasons for their withdrawal from ABC.
My statement that the Tulsa World retained "consultants" to provide circulation information is inaccurate and misleading.
My suggestion that the actual circulation numbers were somehow "concealed" for a time is incorrect.
This week, however, they seem to have fallen silent, unwilling to acknowledge the many errors that Bates himself admits.