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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update: AP's Disgrace Deepens

UPDATE  In response to criticism here and elsewhere about "fact-checking" Bill Clinton with a reference to Monica Lewinsky,  Michael Oreskes--formerly of the NYT, now a senior managing editor at the AP--has released a statement via Huff Post.   "The reference was not about that woman, Miss Lewinsky.  It was about facts.  Clinton challenged the Republicans for their attitude toward facts. We were simply pointing out that as president Clinton had his own challenges in this area."

Keep digging, Mike.  As a writer at Comedy Central's political blog put it:  "I hope it's a fact that the AP Style guide accepts non-sequitur as a synonym for fact check, or else this makes no sense at all."   Just now James Taylor sang "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" at the DNC.  Now expecting AP fact-check: "Cheated on wife in the 1980s."

Earlier:  AP's amazing fact-check opens with the claim that Obama was every bit as inflexible and dug in as the GOP on legislation ever since he took office.  Pure opinion (see more on that here).  Then accuses him of bragging about the swell economic times of his second term--which even the GOPers have been citing like mad (more here).

But worse than that: It ends, in a pure gratuitous shot--AP should remove and apologize--with this: "Clinton, who famously finger-wagged a denial on national television about his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and was subsequently impeached in the House on a perjury charge, has had his own uncomfortable moments over telling the truth. 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,' Clinton told television viewers."

This came in a section on Clinton--very accurately--citing a Romney's spokesman who said they would not allow fact-checkers to "dictate" their campaign. Gosh, you'd think Apuzzo would write something snarky about that, not re: Clinton.  Instead, he took the approach of ultra-partisan Brit Hume on Fox last night after the speech, when he declared that Clinton had also wagged his finger in declaring he did not "have sexual relations with that woman." Nice company to be in, Apuzzo.

Fact-check this:  Did AP end every piece about George W. Bush in his later years, "But the president lied or misled the country into war with his claims of WMD in Iraq"?  Hell, they could have included that in their Condi fact-check just last week.  "Ms. Rice, who once claimed, with thin and highly disputed evidence,  that proved completely wrong, that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons...."  Dare we mention Newt Gingrich's credibility on his marital issues--did AP mention that in their fact-check of his speech last week?  Matt Apuzzo, get back to me when you check all that.

And let us know if AP is now judging the credibility and years-long track record of all speakers and media outlets, not simply "facts." Truly, a tall order.


Anonymous said...

Michael oreskes tipped his hand and showed bias. Disgraceful. AP should Be above board or else will/has lost all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Glad I'm not alone in finding that AP attempt at fact checking to be less than stellar.