I’ll be on tonight (about 5:45 pm) debating Larry Korb on the Rumsfeld speech yesterday. Interesting part of that is the AP story which kicked off the misreporting of what Rumsfeld said. Kudlow’s producer sent the first to me yesterday, and it didn’t sound right. Checking with the Pentagon proved it materially wrong.
Their first version — since rewritten at least twice — said Rumsfeld, “…accused critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease a ‘new type of fascism.’” But Rumsfeld never made that accusation.
After the Pentagon raised hell with AP, the third re-write said, “Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday the world faces ‘a new type of fascism’ and warned against repeating the pre-World War II mistake of appeasement.”
The third version is accurate: the first was agenda-driven fiction. The reporter - Robert Burns - is a good guy. But this is only the latest of AP’s ventures into fiction and intentional mis-reporting of Rumsfeld. Who’s responsible? Editor Alan Fram? Bureau Chief Sandra Johnson? AP needs to fess up and fix a problem that’s ruining their brand. They’re rapidly becoming the Jayson Blair Wire Service.