On Monday afternoon, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz asked for the resignation of his Communications Director Rick Tyler, after Tyler had posted and retracted a link to a post on The Daily Pennsylvanian’s DPolitics blog. In an effort to clarify the series of events that informed our reporting, The Daily Pennsylvanian has created a timeline of our account.
Saturday, Feb. 20, 10:48 a.m.: Marco Rubio walks into our hotel, the Hampton Inn near the airport in Columbia, S.C. and exchanges some words with a guest sitting at the table closest to him. A Daily Pennsylvanian staffer records a video. At this point, we do not know the identity of the man with whom Rubio is talking or what book he is reading. We posted the raw video to Facebook and Twitter at this time.
Saturday, Feb. 20, 11:02 a.m.: A @dailypenn Twitter follower tweets at us, letting us know that Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s father, was in the video, sitting to the right of the person Rubio spoke to. We were previously unaware of this.
Saturday, Feb. 20, around 11:20 a.m.: A few Daily Pennsylvanian staffers talked to Rafael Cruz and the staffer in the video with the book, Christian Collins, in an attempt to get an interview with Rafael Cruz, which he declined. We did not ask specifically about the interaction, not realizing at that time that there was anything noteworthy about it. Collins gave us his business card.
Saturday, Feb. 20, around 11:20 a.m.: A few other Daily Pennsylvanian staffers go outside to stand by Marco Rubio’s bus, waiting for him to come out of the hotel. Rubio’s staffers get a hotel worker to ask us to leave. We leave shortly thereafter for a 12 p.m. meeting at the University of South Carolina.
Saturday, Feb. 20, around noon: At the University of South Carolina, while editing the video, a Daily Pennsylvanian staffer notices something odd in the interaction between Rubio and the Cruz staffer. The staffer hears Rubio say “Good book you got there. Not many answers in it. Especially in that one.” The staffer shows the audio to other editors, who hear the same thing. The staffer creates a video with subtitles.
Saturday, Feb. 20, 1:47 p.m.: Another Daily Pennsylvanian editor writes a post, detailing our interpretation of the video and the situation as we witnessed it. We publish the post with the video containing subtitles. At this point, we still do not know what book the staffer in the video is reading.
Sunday, Feb. 21, 2:18 a.m.: We add a line to the article indicating that the book Collins is reading in the video is a Bible, according to a Cruz staffer. This came after editors sitting in the lobby of the same hotel — finishing up writing posts and editing videos and photos from the night of the primary — spoke with a different Cruz staffer, who asked not to be named. We had seen the Cruz bus outside and thought we might get a glimpse of the candidate as he walked in. The Cruz staffer we spoke with stated that the book in question was the Bible before we showed him the video. He asked us to email him the link to the post, which we did. We heard him start watching something and walk out of the lobby. Later, he came back in, and we asked what he thought. He said “interesting.”
Sunday, Feb. 21, around 6:50 a.m.: We happen to run into Collins while eating breakfast in the lobby and preparing to leave the hotel. He talks to us and we ask him what book he was reading the day before. He says it was the Bible. We show him the video with subtitles embedded into the post on our blog. He does not comment on the transcript, but asks if we thought Rubio saw Rafael Cruz. We said we were unsure. He asks for us to send him the link to the post, which we send at 6:54 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 21, 8:52 a.m.: Cruz Communications Director Rick Tyler tweets the link to the post on our blog with the video, saying “Watch Marco Rubio’s awkward remark about the book a Cruz staffer was reading in the hotel lobby. What book was it?” He posted the same comment on Facebook with the link around that time. He later deleted the posts.
Sunday, Feb. 21, afternoon: While driving back to Philadelphia, we begin receiving comments on Twitter and the post itself about the contents of the video. Several people question whether Rubio said “not” or “got” before “many answers in there,” referring to the book. Later, some suggest maybe he is saying “every answer’s in there.” We examine the video, breaking down the audio to the very syllable at the beginning of the sentence. We continued to believe we heard an “N” sound.
Sunday, Feb. 21, 7:56 p.m.: We post a “Note from the Editor” at the beginning of the article that reads: “We have been receiving lots of questions about the contents of this video, and some have disagreed with our transcript. We stand by our original transcript, but the video is here for you to see for yourself and make your own judgement.”
Monday, Feb. 22, 1:02 a.m.: Tyler issues an apology on Facebook for posting the story.
Monday, Feb. 22, 2:13 a.m.: Tyler sends an email to the Daily Pennsylvanian editor who bylined the post, saying, “Since this story has been so thoroughly discredited, shouldn’t you make a correction? Rubio did not say in the video, 'Not many answer it it [sic].' According to our staffer who Rubio spoke to, he said that 'there are a lot of answers in that book.' ”
Monday, Feb. 22, 12:15 p.m.: We issue an update at the top of the article and replace the video embedded in the article with the raw footage from the event, without subtitles. The update reads: “UPDATE: This article has been updated to remove a quote in the video by Marco Rubio that has been called into question, regarding the book the staffer was reading. We have replaced the video above with the raw footage without subtitles. Though our original transcription reflects what we originally heard, after reviewing the audio, we feel it is too unclear to say for sure. The transcription on the video was created and posted before a Cruz staffer told us that the book he was reading was the Bible. We showed the staffer in the video this footage on Sunday morning, and he did not correct our transcript. We have reached out to him for comment.”
Monday, Feb. 22, around 3:30 p.m.: News outlets report that Cruz asked for Tyler’s resignation.